Call for Papers

Playfulness across Media

2021 Issue of Eludamos: Journal for Computer Game Culture

“Playfulness” is a bona fide example of a travelling concept (Bal 2002), with a complex conceptual history that ranges from anthropology and psychology (e.g., Lieberman 1977; Sutton-Smith 1997) via literary theory (e.g., Stewart 1979; Hutchinson 1983) to the interdisciplinary field of game studies (e.g., Ensslin 2014; Sicart 2014). While there are thus evidently many different ways to approach the question what it means for humans or other animals to think, perceive, and/or behave “playfully,” even a brief look at our current media culture—with its increasing erosion of the border between work and play, its subversion of the notion of distinct media and established genre conventions, as well as its promises of new forms of creative and political participation—clearly demonstrates that this question is indeed still worth asking.

For the forthcoming 2021 issue of Eludamos: Journal for Computer Game Culture (, we thus invite proposals for articles exploring aspects of playfulness across media. Possible topics would include:

  • Theories and case studies of playfulness from game studies and beyond
  • Playful aesthetics across media forms (games, comics, films, etc.)
  • Playfulness as a mode of production across the creative industries
  • Playfulness as a mode of reception in participatory culture/fan cultures
  • Playfulness in “serious” contexts (gamification, protests, etc.)

Please send an abstract of 300–500 words and 100-word biobibliographical note to the guest editor Jan-Noël Thon at by 31 January 2021. Selected abstracts will be invited to submit a full article of 5,000–6,000 words by 30 April 2021. All submitted articles will be subject to peer review.


Works Cited

Bal, Mieke. 2002. Travelling Concepts in the Humanities: A Rough Guide. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Ensslin, Astrid. 2014. Literary Gaming. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Hutchinson, Peter. 1983. Games Authors Play. London: Methuen.

Lieberman, J. Nina. 1977. Playfulness: Its Relationship to Imagination and Creativity. New York: Academic Press.

Sicart, Miguel. 2014. Play Matters. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Stewart, Susan. 1979. Nonsense: Aspects of Intertextuality in Folklore and Literature. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Sutton-Smith, Brian. 1997. The Ambiguity of Play. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.