Dutch play-scholar Johan Huizinga defined play as: "a voluntary activity or occupation executed within certain fixed limits of time and place, according to rules freely accepted but absolutely binding, having its aim in itself and accompanied by a feeling of tension, joy, and the consciousness that it is 'different' from 'ordinary life.'"  He went on to explore various elements of the play-concept, including how play is often deadly serious, totally engaging, and socially motivated. While I disagree that play is different from ordinary life or that it is always located outside any notion of the "real world" (whatever that means), I agree with his definitions in so far as play is a rule-bound system in which tension or conflict seeks resolution. With this definition in mind, I am proceeding to explore the division in our culture between play and work (or other activities that are typically characterized as productive) and to understand ways that play theory can inform workplace practice and discourse communities.
 Huizinga, J. (1955). Homo ludens: A study of the play element in culture. Boston, MA: Beacon.
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Moeller, R.M., & White, K. (2008, Fall). Enter the game factor: Putting theory into practice in the design of Peer Factor. Computers and Composition Online. [Special Issue: Reading Games]. Retrieved from http://www.bgsu.edu/cconline/theory.htm
Christensen, D.M., Cootey, J.L., & Moeller, R.M. (2007). Playing in genre fields: A play theory perspective on genre. Proceedings of the 25th annual ACM International Conference on Design of Communication. 22-24 October 2007. University of Texas, El Paso. 1-8.
Ball, C. E., & Moeller, R. M. (2007). Reinventing the possibilities: Academic literacy and new media. Fibreculture: The Journal. Retrieved from http://lgi.usu.edu/fibreculture/article/
Moeller, R. M., & McAllister, K. S. (Spring 2002). Playing with techne: A propaedeutic for technical communications. Technical Communication Quarterly, 11(2). 185-206.