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Dark Fun? Play in Unexpected Places 
Kellynn Wee (University College London)
Konstanze N'Guessan (Mainz University)
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Carrie Ryan (University College London)
Chika Watanabe (University of Manchester)
Thursday 25 July, -
Time zone: Europe/Madrid
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Short Abstract:

How do we methodologically and theoretically respond to fun and playfulness when they emerge in situations and contexts that are not usually expected or supposed to be fun? This panel explores the potentials and pitfalls of attending to fun in unlikely places.

Long Abstract:

One of the interesting things about fun and play are that they are embodied and affective experiences that are morally agnostic. Thus, they appear in ‘good’ and positive situations such as in children’s games but they also exist in ‘bad’ phenomena such as wars. This panel explores how anthropologists can conceptualize fun as an analytic that does not rely on presumptions of good or bad. In other words, how can anthropologists sidestep the pitfalls of arguing that something ‘is fun in spite of’, or ‘looks fun but is actually serious’, or ‘seems fun but camouflages a darker phenomenon’? The papers in this panel tackle this challenge vis-à-vis cases that are ripe for such arguments: right-wing politics, war, and liberal gun ownership. By avoiding the ‘fun but’ tendencies in ethnographies that seem to call out for that kind of framework, this panel explores how fun can constitute an analytical and methodological tool rather than a theoretical foil.

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Thursday 25 July, 2024, -