Social Exclusions: Leisure, Play, Power, and Race in 21st Century Online Experiences

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 10:45
Location: Seminar 34 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
David EMBRICK, Sociology, Loyola University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA
Defining leisure and play has been contentious if not unremarkably invisible. Writers in the Critical Theory tradition such as Ernst Bloch, Herbert Marcuse, and the Frankfurt School have all attempted to locate play (and leisure) as just another version of exploitative activity under the conditions of modern capitalism. The role of daydreaming, fantasy, non-instrumental behavior is consigned to a lower order of activity (leisure) as compared to work and productivity under capitalist social relationships. With the rise of the Internet and virtual environments are new questions that go beyond grappling with the distinction of play as an exploitative activity or a new way to think about liberation (i.e., that which does not depend on the commodity fetish for realization of work/production of capital accumulation). It also begs new questions about understanding how existing forms of inequality beyond class, such as racism, fit into our understanding of play, leisure, work, and fantasy. This paper seeks to tease out how the growing use of the Internet in everyday life maintains (or alleviates) racial exclusion similar to that of the “real” world.