Thursday, November 02, 2006

4S conference in Vancouver... now

The annual 4S meeting (Society for Social Studies of Science) is happening right here at the Empire Landmark inVancouver, November 2-4th.
I just came out of a panel on games that questioned the distinction between 'real' and 'virtual' from anthropological, engineering, and sociological perspectives. People in the session felt somewhat constrained by the binary distinction because we have to question and resist that distinction if we believe that games are just another part of life and culture, but at the same time we find that we're still using those terms (kind of like how I still use 'addiction' even though I try to deconstruct the term). It's hard, and no one found an answer to truly resolve that conflict.
I suppose that as we learn more, and as uses and attitudes towards online games as a part of everyday lived reality progresses, there will be a better vocabulary to describe such phenomena as just another social activity. Something brought up as well was how people tend to look at television as something that is now 'hearth like', bringing people together... whereas before television used to be villainized like games are at the moment. Food for thought.

Just yesterday, those of us at the Applied Communication and Technology Lab and various other friends hosted a great Q/A discussion session with TL Taylor (who happens to be in town for the 4S) where we talked about the state of affairs in thought about games and sociality. It was such a treat to have her here. Her session, titled "Discipline and punish: the game" is tomorrow.

Technorati tags: 4s, games, ACTlab


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