Ludic rhetorics and the language of playShow full item record
|Ludic rhetorics and the language of play
|Doctor of Philosophy
|My dissertation proposes a rhetorical theory of how human play is symbolized in the possibility spaces created by computable media. I examine existing concepts of play in both rhetorical and composition theory and put them in conversation with play theory such as Brian Sutton-Smith's The Ambiguity of Play and Jan Huizinga's classic, Homo Ludens. I propose that rhetorical theory treat play as a resource used by humans symbolically to express ideas, shape beliefs, and persuade audiences in computerized media such as videogames, virtual environments, and wikis. In my first chapter, I argue that using Katie Salen and Eric Zimmerman's definition of play as free movement within a more rigid structure" (Rules of Play 304) allows rhetoric and composition scholars to visualize play as composing through exploration, experimentation, and user experience. I also provide an overview of the project.^In my second chapter, I analyze the articles in a 2008 special issue of Computers and Composition about videogames. Drawing from Brian Sutton-Smith's work in The Ambiguity of Play, I argue that explicit uses of the word play in the emerging area of gaming studies embody three theories of play in rhetoric and composition: theories of 1) experimentation, 2) subjectivity, and 3) ambiguity. In my third chapter, I revisit Johan Huizinga's Homo Ludens. Drawing from the work of archival scholar William Otterspeer, I argue that Huizinga's work has been largely misunderstood in rhetoric and composition. Further, I claim that by understanding Huizinga's methodology and theory of language, scholars can arrive at a new reading of Homo Ludens, one that illustrates Huizinga's theory of symbolic play.^In my fourth chapter, I propose a theory of the language of play, which is a theory of how human play takes on symbolic forms that express rhetorical meaning in the possibility spaces created by computable media. In my final chapter, I bring the language of play to bear on the WPA OS and argue that play's symbolic forms can help the field both articulate and realize the core values articulated in the Outcomes Statement."--Abstract.
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- Doctoral Dissertations