Playing with the future: social irrealism and the politics of aesthetics

Shaw, I. G.R. and Sharp, J. P. (2013) Playing with the future: social irrealism and the politics of aesthetics. Social and Cultural Geography, 14(3), pp. 341-359. (doi:10.1080/14649365.2013.765027)

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In this paper we wish to explore the political possibilities of video games. Numerous scholars now take seriously the place of popular culture in the remaking of our geographies, but video games still lag behind. For us, this tendency reflects a general response to them as imaginary spaces that are separate from everyday life and 'real' politics. It is this disconnect between abstraction and lived experience that we complicate by defining play as an event of what Brian Massumi calls lived abstraction. We wish to short-circuit the barriers that prevent the aesthetic resonating with the political and argue that through their enactment, video games can animate fantastical futures that require the player to make, and reflect upon, profound ethical decisions that can be antagonistic to prevailing political imaginations. We refer to this as social irrealism to demonstrate that reality can be understood through the impossible and the imagined.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Sharp, Professor Jo and Shaw, Dr Ian
Authors: Shaw, I. G.R., and Sharp, J. P.
Subjects:G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences > Geography
Journal Name:Social and Cultural Geography
ISSN (Online):1470-1197
Published Online:03 February 2013

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