Are we Having Fun Yet? Understanding Fun.

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    16-Apr-2017

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  • The Missing Element in Economic Anthropology

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  • What we do not study can be more informative than comfortable and conventional topics

    Divide safe zones from places that are unclean(A deafening silence)

    These zones of willful blindness are always worth investigating (open fields are liberating)

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  • Rachel Black, Europes largest retail food market

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  • many people go to the market because they find it entertaining they enjoy being there and the interactions they have with vendors and other shoppers. She describes both formal and informal groups which meet in the market to talk about and taste food.

    Rachel Blacks Ethnography of Porta Palazzo Market in Turin*

  • 475367 shoppers are entertained by each other, and they enjoy hunting for bargains and unusual items; fun and games like competitive shopping (reality TV)

    Photo of Bloomington FM*

  • In the classic Durkheimian move the market becomes a medium of social integration, and fun a form of effervescence that binds people together.

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  • Functionalism what does fun do? Utilitarianism - How does it tie people together or satisfy other needs?Attempts to locate fun in geography (fun places), time (holidays, breaks), particular forms of play and recreation (gambling, sports, nature).The Hedonic in CR (eg. Holbrook and Hirschman 1982) and Arnoulds work on River Rafting.

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  • The market is primarily a form of entertainment;That this is why markets persist despite the competition of supermarkets? requires that we take entertainment, fun seriously as a subject, and end in itself.

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  • A transient emotion rather than a stable stateScholarly divisions: which discipline does it belong to?Scholarly distance: the need to be serious scholarsClass associations: more and less refined, or rational

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  • Anthropologys deep commitment to finding the rationality of the others behavior.

    The 2 forms of anthropological magic are showing how the exotic is really mundane and vice versa.

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  • Latour: The work of purification and the proliferation of hybrids

    Fun as both concept and practice is unstable, transgressive, impure and relatively untheorized always a product of something else

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  • Theories in which fun serves as a dividing line between

    traditional and modern the West and the rest social order and chaos

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  • High fun and low fun

    LaetitiaJoy or Pleasuretitillatio titillation (embodied fun)hilaritas cheerfulness (mindful fun)GaudiumGladness

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  • if the rite serves only to distract, it is no longer a rite.The Elementary Forms of Religious Life, 1965:427

    And of course, Marx was deeply suspicious of pleasure. Adorno even more so. Sport as oppression.

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  • Later, laughter begins a process of degradation: it is systematized, politicized and rationalized, as was truth, by the emergent European absolute monarchies; the parallel, inverted (i.e. grotesque) world created by laughter was subordinated to a new order. Parody and satire no longer degraded to regenerate, but merely mocked; laughter was reduced to its negative aspect, and the positive discarded.

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  • Part of a critique of modernity we have forgotten how to really have funPlay once suffused all social life; now it has been exiled and encapsulated in commercialized leisure.

    (or maybe the opposite)

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  • Fun may not be a cultural universal; many cultures have no equivalent termsYet, as Peter Stromberg argues, entertainment is the cultural hub of consumer society (even education)

    And the largest industry in the world

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  • Happiness is supposedly stableRelatively easily measuredUseful as a means of attacking the hegemony of utilityAllows relatively simple forms of correlation analysisA means to attack hegemony of wealth and growth as an ultimate value

    Most importantly, it is a bourgeois value that has always been used as a tool to denigrate the values of both the aristocracy and the working class

    Has had a remarkably successful academic and political career

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  • AVERAGE HAPPINESS IN 95 NATIONS 1995-2005Top> 7,7Middle range 6,0Bottom

  • Other Journals: * Health and Quality of Life Outcomes * Quality of Life Research * Social Indicator Network * Social Indicators Research * Applied Research in Quality of Life

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  • http://www.happyplanetindex.org/But Happiness studies have had a real impact on policy and have been an entry point for considering non-economic values in public policy and economics itself

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  • Goffman:Play requires both separation, and close connection with other players

    A form of partial alienation, between real danger and the trivial challenge

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  • Proposition:Fun is evoked by gaining or losing control of objects, situations, and people. It is transitional, unstable, a process rather than a state.

    The basic rhythm of consumer culture is control and release, experienced as work and fun

    (Nichter and Nichter 1991, Hype and Weight)

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  • Distance from the mundane and everydayWe often fail in trying to have funLack of fun can make us anxious or uncomfortableRepetition is problematic, can you have the same fun twice?Novelty is stimulating, fun is expansiveHas a tendency to crowd out other experiences and emotions

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  • We do not have a theory of what makes objects fun though toys appear in the archaeological record c.5000 BCFreud and others tend to pathologize object attachment.My theory suggests that objects which have agency will be the most fun.

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  • Not nutrition,Nutri-tainmentA branch of the entertainment industry

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  • WWW.LILEKS.COMGallery of Regrettable Food

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  • Gang Labor

    male homosocial work groupsphysical and social isolation, mobilitystrenuous and dangerous laborlargely self-supervisedTransforming danger and exploitation into fun through competition, and binge consumptionThe things which make a horrible life bearable are the things that keep people stuck in that life

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  • www.thevalueweb.org

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  • New relationships between work and play, the relationship between fun and violence

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  • http://journalofsadness.monkeychow.comA SCIENCE OF BOREDOM?

    (see Lofgren and Ehn, 2011 The Secret World of Doing Nothing.)

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    *Rachel Blacks Ethnography of Porta Palazzo Market in Turin*Photo of Bloomington FM*

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