Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

CFP The Gamification of Society – When games rule

May 31, 2018

The Gamification of Society When games rule   December 6th-7th, 2018 Paris – Maison de la recherche Université de la Sorbonne nouvelle

Proposals must be 5,000 characters long and be submitted to and before Friday, June 1st  2018 Following two anonymous evaluations, responses will be sent mid-July, 2018.

Gamification – or “the use of game design elements in non-game contexts,” (Deterding et al., 2011) – originates especially from two separate streams of research. One of these streams is game theory, which derives from the humanities and social and human sciences (SHS); the second is applied design research, which draws extensively from video games and posits game design as conducive to commitment, individual and collective development, and creativity. Although the first stream of research contributes to the development of the second, social and human sciences have yet to really embrace, critique and analyze the practices associated with gamification, even though gamification can be applied to an increasing number of areas. Indeed, gamified practices are implemented in the health care sector, in schools, in the workplace, in the media, in our civic lives, in our relationships and in quantified self-tracking, and yet research on gamification often focuses only on physical objects – “serious games”, i.e. simulations to train health care or military personnel, educational innovations, games in the workplace, etc. – rather than the mentality behind it, either in terms of “empowerment” or as the “new  capitalist mindset”. The aim of this symposium on “The Gamification of Society” is to gather researchers studying gamification in various areas: health care, education, civic life, work and social relations, including individual scoring systems to track people’s bodies, social lives and behaviors (particularly their digital behavior), among many others. While questioning the social implications of gamification and of the normalization of game formats in non-game practices, an effort must be made to avoid the pitfalls of segmenting the topic. Gaming as a “model” (game design) and as an “interface” (fulfilling a social function) should be examined beyond simply listing its areas of application. Case studies will thus be incorporated into the approach to the key themes, while making sure that links are created with the research that has been conducted on games within the humanities and social and human sciences.   Five key themes will be the focus of our shared reflection: the historical perspective of gamification, a questioning of the concept, the economic issues at hand, the idea of “gamified consciousness” and the underlying rhetorics of gamification.

  • The historical perspective of gamification

If we consider gamification as it is commonly understood, i.e. as a transposition of game design elements into non-game contexts, it stands to reason that the historical perspective could contribute significantly to the research on gamification, ranging from the early modern period (Belmas, 2006), which offers many examples in both education and the world of work, to the 19th century, which provides many opportunities to prove the sociohistorical importance of the gamification process, and finally to the 20th century, which saw a multiplication of these processes. This part of the symposium will therefore consist of contributions showing the social origins of past tools and practices, in order to learn more about the ambiguous relationship between game and non-game environments. This could help prevent the anachronistic approach of some current research, which tends to regard gamification as a recent “invention”. As a result, the specificities of current processes, such as the development of technology and its new applications in many areas of everyday life, should be more easily defined.

  • Game mechanics

Gamification as a game design serving as a template for other activities has been judged as being a marketing gimmick, a kind of “pointification” (Bogost, 2014; Robertson, 2010). However, it would be inaccurate to reduce the game design elements used in gamification to a simple matter of points, badges and other means of indicating level and progress. Indeed, even though current research mainly concerns digital practices inspired by game design, gamification stakeholders – producers and designers – work to create hybrid systems that mix digital and non-digital aspects. Regarding research, many conceptual leads to define the various game mechanics on which gamification is based are provided by the major SHS papers on fiction (Schaeffer, 1999), framing (Bateson, 1977; Goffman, 1991), role theory (Linton, 1936; Mead, 1934) and rituals (Schechner & Schuman, 1976; Turner, 1982), as well as more recent research papers broaching these same notions, in addition to those focusing specifically on games (notably Winnicott, 1971, Henriot, 1989 or Brougère, 2005, and Caïra, 2007 and 2011) and video games (Triclot, 2011). As such, these theories and research findings are full of tools and concepts that allow for a less “technical” approach to gamification practices and phenomena, and may therefore surpass studies that support a single functionalist interpretation of such systems, often aimed at assessing their “efficiency”. They invite us to question the social, cultural, ethical and political dimensions which are, literally, at play, and to question the place of those who are persuaded or encouraged to play these creations. Since there can be no game without players, are the players simply another mechanic in the game? Can they be afforded space to reclaim, invent and select their own experiences?

  • The economics of knowledge and attention

Knowledge-based economies are essentially production and service sectors based in knowledge-intensive activities (KIA). KIA can usually be identified using indicators on knowledge production and management, the employment rate of higher educated workers and the level of use of modern information technologies. (Foray, 2009) The growing complexity of knowledge creation processes paved the way for gamification, which is considered by some as consubstantial with the economics of knowledge. Searching for optimal ways to capture our attention is at the heart of new learning processes, naturally leading to the gamification of training facilities, hierarchical structures and workplace organization, the goals and results of which remain to be analyzed. This part of the symposium will feature pieces on links, tensions and potential contradictions between gamification and newer forms of knowledge-based economies. How does gamification shape the way we relate to information or knowledge? What changes could an economy of attention which owes its existence to video games bring about? Are more traditional forms of these economies truly destined to be transformed by the wave of gamification revolutionizing knowledge infrastructures? In an economy where individual behaviors can be explained with data and neuroscience, would competition, performance and well-being become one and the same?

  • Gamified consciousness

Is it possible to consider the gamification of society without looking at those who design, implement or criticize it? This part of the symposium will reflect on what is conveyed by gamified technological devices which measure biological data in real time during exercise, whether they are used for self-care or for enhancing performance. Are these devices simply a technological transposition of the pursuit of a health compatible with social interactions both in and out of work? What about scoring and self-tracking tools, supposedly assessing an individual’s progress in becoming part of a social or professional network? Are they a digital manifestation of older, less visible yet still significant practices to increase social and symbolic capital? Can it be argued that these different ways of counting, of accumulating points and of presenting oneself to the outside world are linked to the transformation of subjectivities that certain authors, following Michel Foucault’s work (2004), perceive as being central to the neoliberal agenda? Leading the discussion back to self-management, to the individual as a “project”, would then seem pertinent (Pharabod, Nikolski, Granjon, 2013; Boltanski, Chiapello, 1999). Such tools and practices also lead to questions about which “values” – economic, performance, commitment, etc. – are associated with these measurements and quantifications. Finally, how is this technology viewed by its users? Are there other significant uses beyond the scope of the goals set out by designers?

  • Gamification discussions and rhetorics

Brian Sutton-Smith (1997) and Sebastian Deterding (2014) worked on the main “rhetorics” (to use their own word) associated with games and, later, gamification. There is much that comes into play with regard to games and their uses: developmental theory (both human and animal), traditional associations with luck and fortune, dynamics of competition and confrontation (i.e. power dynamics) and collective celebration (a key element of identity rituals), as well as the possibilities they offer in terms of creativity, the entertainment factor and their casualness (referred to as “frivolous” by Gilles Brougère (2005)). As per these rhetorics, games are mostly conceived to be a dynamic way of improving knowledge, skills, well-being and group bonding. In this final part of the symposium, contributions concerning gamified practices and the arguments for their conception and continuation will be considered, with the aim of identifying other motivations behind gamification, which may be primary or secondary depending on their area of application. Lastly, case studies may be examined in order to question the validity of the arguments in favor of gamified devices.   All of these aspects demonstrate the ambition of this symposium: to combine research and analytical methods in order to develop a transdisciplinary perspective on these sectors and subjects, and to gain a wider and more political and ethical view of the gamification of society. Organizers Yanita Andonova (LabSic – Paris 13 University – Sorbonne Paris Cité) Jean Frances (GSPR – EHESS) Stéphane Le Lay (LPTA – CNAM Paris 5) Pierre Lénel (Lise – CNAM) Emmanuelle Savignac (Cerlis – Université de la Sorbonne nouvelle – SEF)   Scientific committee

  • Julian Alvarez (De Visu – University of Valenciennes – SIC)
  • Yanita Andonova (Lab Sic – Paris 13 University – Sorbonne Paris Cité)
  • Vincent Berry (Experice – Paris 13 University – Sorbonne Paris Cité)
  • Gilles Brougère (Experice – Paris 13 University – Sorbonne Paris Cité)
  • Maude Bonenfant, (Director of the Homo Ludens research group – UQAM, Canada)
  • Olivier Caïra (Centre Pierre Naville – University of Évry)
  • Laurence Corroy (Cerlis – Université de la Sorbonne nouvelle)
  • Eric Dagiral (Cerlis – Paris Descartes University)
  • Marie-Anne Dujarier (LCSP – Paris Diderot University)
  • Jean Frances (GSPR – EHESS)
  • Stéphane Le Lay (CNAM Paris 5)
  • Pierre Lenel (LISE – CNAM)
  • Anne Monjaret (IIAC-CNRS – EHESS)
  • Emmanuelle Savignac (Cerlis – Université de la Sorbonne nouvelle)
  • Aude Seurrat (LabSIC – Paris 13 University – Sorbonne Paris Cité)
  • Gabrielle Trepanier-Jobin (Associate director of the Homo Ludens research group – UQAM, Canada)
  • Thierry Wendling (IIAC-CNRS – EHESS)
  • Vinciane Zabban (Experice – Paris 13 University – Sorbonne Paris Cité)
  • Nathalie Zaccai-Reyners (FRS-FNRS – Université libre de Bruxelles, Belgique)

Bibliography   Bateson, G., 1972. Steps to an Ecology of Mind: Collected Essays in Anthropology, Psychiatry, Evolution, and Epistemology. Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1972. Belmas E., 2006, Jouer autrefois. Essai sur le jeu dans la France moderne (XVIe-XVIIIe siècle), Seyssel, Champ Vallon. Bogost, I., “Why gamification is bullshit” in Walz, S.P., Deterding, S. (eds), The Gameful World, Cambridge (Mass.), The MIT Press, pp. 65–80, 2014. Boltanski L., Chiapello E., 1999, Le nouvel esprit du capitalisme, Paris, Gallimard. Brougère G., 2005, Jouer, Apprendre, Paris, Economica. Caïra, O., 2007, Jeux de rôles: les forges de la fiction, Paris, CNRS Editions. Caïra, O., 2011. Définir la fiction : du roman au jeu d’échecs, Paris, Editions de l’EHESS. Deterding S., Sicart M., Nacke L., O’Hara K., Dixon D., 2011, “Gamification: Using game‑design elements in non-gaming contexts”, CHI ’11 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems, New York, ACM Press: 2425-2428. French version available online via Deterding, S., “The ambiguity of games: histories and discourses of a gameful world”, in Walz, S. P., Deterding, S. (eds), The Gameful World, Cambridge (Mass.), The MIT Press, pp. 23–64, 2014. Foray, D., 2009. L’économie de la connaissance, Paris, La Découverte. Goffman, E., 1974. Frame Analysis: An Essay on the Organization of Experience. Cambridge (Mass.), Harvard University Press. Henriot, J., 1989. Sous couleur de jouer. La métaphore ludique. Paris, José Corti, 1989. Linton, R., 1936. The study of man. New York, Appleton-Century-Crofts. Mead, G. H., 1934. Mind, Self and Society, Chicago, University of Chicago Press. Pharabod, A. S., Nikolski, V., & Granjon, F., 2013. «  La mise en chiffres de soi ». Réseaux, (1), 97-129. Schaeffer, J. M., 1999. Pourquoi la fiction. Paris, Seuil. Schechner, R., Schuman, M. (Eds.), 1976. Ritual, play, and performance: Readings in the social sciences/theatre, New York, Seabury Press. Robertson, M., 2010. “Can’t play, won’t play”, Hide & Seek 6. Sutton-Smith, B., 1997. The Ambiguity of Play, Cambridge (Mass.), Harvard University Press. Triclot M., 2011, Philosophie des jeux vidéo, Paris, Zones. Turner, V. W., 1982. From ritual to theatre: the human seriousness of play, New York, Paj Publications. Winnicott D. W., 1971, Jeu et réalité. L’espace potentiel, Paris, Gallimard.


Deaf education

April 1, 2018

Life in a ‘hostile environment’

March 27, 2018


Marches and Talks

March 16, 2018

UN Anti Racism Day March, this Saturday.


March 13, 2018

Our trade union (UCU) has instructed its members in 61 universities – including UCL – to take strike action on 22-23, 26-28 Feb and 5-8, 12-16 March. On these days we won’t be doing any work related to our employment here. (Our pay will be deducted on each of these strike days.) UCU has also instructed members not to reschedule or make up for work lost on strike days. This action is part of a lawful industrial dispute over a proposal to make devastating and needless cuts to university pensions. The National Union of Students has issued a statement in support of this action.

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December 7, 2017

Philip Hammond, Chancellor explains.

“It is almost certainly the case that by increasing participation in the workforce, including far higher levels of participation by marginal groups and very high levels of engagement in the workforce, for example of disabled people – something we should be extremely proud of – may have had an impact on overall productivity measurements.”


November 10, 2017

Conference – Disability between academic and research practice: breaking barriers towards a just and equal world – 9th May 2018





Just like that

June 5, 2017



April 5, 2017


Fragmentation in DE HR

December 15, 2016

I am still playing and fragmenting and walking back and forwards through Deus Ex Human Revolution, and taking pictures (the image got reversed, long story…will flip it at some point). This week I have a cold, so DE: HR protagonist Adam Jensen has been mooching around Serif’s R and D facility again, taking pictures of the tools on people’s desks, clothes, and work place detritus.


Hands at the lab


Anyway so Adam was collecting images and he spent a while in the labs making pictures of the hands. Some angles made the hands look spookier than others, so we pondered this for a while…and ‘doink!’ – realized that all the hands are doing the universal sign for ‘monster’. This cheered me up.

Classic skipping zombie left, right monster hands move – about 1:30 in.

See also online signing guides and Bad Romance, Lady Gaga etc.

PS – I do appreciate that technically it might not be the universal sign for monster.