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This article proposes the concept of “plaything” as an instrument to inquire on the ontology and epistemology of the things we play with. Extending Barad’s (2007) onto-epistemology and Ingold’s (2012) concepts of “things” and “objects,” this article intends to provide a theoretical contribution to the materialist turn in game studies (Apperley, T. H., & Jayemane, D. (2012). The main argument of the article is as follows: the ontology of the things we play with is separate from its epistemology. The concept of playthings provides a materialistic ontology that accounts for the technologies we play with. At the same time, concepts like video games, toys, or games are understood as being epistemological concepts, used to create situated knowledge (Haraway, D. (1987) about playthings. Playthings help describe how a technology is shaped for and through play, while other concepts place the experience of playthings in culture and society.
Original languageEnglish
JournalGames and Culture: A Journal of Interactive Media
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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