Bdsm torture games

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This essay considers how the experience of Black folk descended from slaves in North America helps us to rethink a definition of play that has been largely informed by scholars and philosophers working within a White European tradition. I argue that this approach to play is short-sighted and linked to a troubling global discourse that renders the experiences of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color BIPOC invisible. In other words, by defining play only through its pleasurable connotations, the term holds an epistemic bias towards people with access to the conditions of leisure.

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Indeed, torture helps to paint a more complete picture where the most heinous potentials of play are addressed alongside the most pleasant, yet in so doing the trauma of slavery is remembered. In rethinking this phenomenology, I aim to detail the more insidious ways that play functions as a tool of subjugation.

One that hurts as much as it heals bdsm torture games one that has been complicit in the systemic erasure of BIPOC people from the domain of leisure. There is presently an urgent social imperative for this work. The Black Lives Matter protests that were staged globally in the summer of speak explicitly toward how the erasure of BIPOC people from White social spaces in North America continues to subjugate entire communities through the threat of torture, violence, and worse.

Practices that divide and exclude only exacerbate the issue. For this reason, I argue that it is crucial to rethink the politics of play in our present moment. Approaches to play that misconstrue it as an innately good or positive activity play into this problematic as they ultimately intone that those with access to leisure time engage in activities that are generally positive, constructive, and wholesome.

We must urgently rethink the very definition of play so as to make space for those it has oppressed as well as those it has elevated. By doing this we recognize how the politics of play have also set the conditions for toxic communities to thrive within the space of the alibi it provides. After all, gamergate, the alt-right, steroid use in sports, and hazing rituals of all sorts all owe something to play as well.

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The tradition of Black people descended from slaves specifically shows how we might use these tragic moments of play to consider a more inclusive and also reparative definition of the term. The road toward a more inclusive study of play has been a bumpy one.

To this end, I find it useful to disambiguate studies of games from the study of play. Game studies, a younger area which draws on many canonical studies of play, has been more proactive in addressing inclusivity. Technology here is implicitly theorized as games. Games allow players to flirt with the pleasurable aspects of White Supremacy by granting them the agency to engage in what Lisa Nakamura terms identity tourism Nakamura,paragraphand what David Leonard considers digital minstrelsy Leonard,p.

For these scholars, and others like Jennifer Malkowski and Treaandrea M. Russworm who see an immediate and direct correlation between the textual bdsm torture games of games and the everyday politics of gamers, representation matters Malkowski and Russworm,p. But what if these theorizations that address inclusivity as a problem of gamers, games, and gaming are too specific? This essay aims to consider how these insights from the bdsm torture games analysis of games and gamers might be considered if they are applied first and foremost to the practice of play.

The problem of inclusivity in games that the above scholarship engages with is symptomatic of a larger problem in play studies that the above scholarship draws upon. In order to address the problem of inclusivity in play studies, this essay will engage in yet another taboo—it will attempt to challenge and decolonize White European thought through the theory and language used by White European critical theory. The unfortunate consequence of this decision is I spend less time in this essay discussing contemporary games and contemporary work on inclusivity in game studies as would be typical, because I will be focusing specifically on amending the work taken up by a lineage of White European theory that has historically excluded BIPOC on its own terms.

Consider it a personal conceit of my own, that I, a Black North American philosopher and historian, might find engaging in this particular avenue of argumentation important.

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At the heart of my argument lies the premise that theories of play that see it as a constructive and positive form of leisure must work to reconcile this point with the fact that play is often hurtful, toxic, and haphazard. Historically this theorizing has taken place in several domains. Johan Huizinga neglects gambling in the entirety of Homo Ludens because of its associations with the amoral connotations that were associated with the activity at the time Huizinga, These ideas have been tremendously important in game studies as well.

But play is not always constructive, it can also be oppressive and traumatic. Some theorists have worked to reconcile these radically different aspects of play. Brian Sutton-Smith argues that play is a term which holds a variety of valences, and is thus used to achieve a variety of rhetorical ends.

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He argues that play is often used to advance a perspective that assumes playfulness relates to progress learning through playfate play of chancepower the play of sport and contestidentity rituals of group identityimaginary play and creativitythe self playful hobbies that result in individuationor frivolous play as an idle, leisurely activity pp.

In approaching play through a rhetorical lens, however, Smith treats all of the above rhetorics as equal in impact. I differ from Smith, however, as in this essay I argue that play itself is a bdsm torture games relationship. The moment one engages in what Judith Butlerp. As this essay will explain in detail later, this act is an uneasy and violent grammar that casts the player as a subject and the game and all other players in it as objects.

A radical phenomenology of play centers on how it can be productive of pain as opposed to pleasure in order to recenter the BIPOC narratives that center around the traumatic and violent aspects of games and play. The trauma of slavery in North America is not only remembered through story, it is also memorialized in some forms of play. Many explanations have been offered. Both explanations are ultimately uncomfortable as they work to reconcile the violence of the experience of Black folk descended from slaves with the inevitable lighthearted connotations of play.

Violence, specifically torture, is either reduced to a carnivalesque inversion of power dynamics where the victim becomes the oppressor or violence is reduced to discipline—a tactic for living within its inevitability. I define torture within the Foucauldian tradition. As a practice, it is a long-term form of discipline that uses coercive techniques to subjugate people. For even in the most innocent and pleasurable acts of play, we subtly discipline those around us to engage in unspoken rules. Relatedly, I define pleasure in an affective sense. Thus, pleasure is that which drives bdsm torture games.

Pleasure is often juxtaposed against pain, another affect, or that which is torturous.

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Torture and play are both practices. In this essay, I gesture toward brutal, disciplinary, and militaristic torture, because I feel they are undertheorized and taboo in the study of games and play. The relationship between torture and pleasure, on the other hand, has been better theorized in work that analyzes social practice within BDSM communities worldwide. This because BDSM is theorized here as a form of consensual play. I feel this definition is putting the cart before the horse, an approach to torture that understands it as that which is always disciplining would read consent itself as a technique of mitigation against the barbaric tendencies of torture.

This essay argues that we must theorize how military and disciplinary torture with its connotations of pain and not pleasure and not pleasurable pain should by understood as play in an argumentative grammar that allows torture in the BDSM scene to be understood as play.

This seeming paradox—that torture both is and is not play—can be resolved. Torture is play, and it reveals a good deal about how play works to subjugate and discipline people. An approach to play that recognizes how it is often experienced as torture might help us to better understand how the application of the term has been historically used to exclude BIPOC, women, trans, and non-binary folk from historically White and masculine spaces of play as well. It is best pondered as an artifact of a bygone era better left in the past.

Thus in play, because the brutality of slavery cannot be shared, we are left with a concept that relates to torture only in bdsm torture games far as it is pleasurable. The provocations above can only hold if we concede that torture is a form of play.

This problem is philosophical, not categorical. Because there are many reasons that disciplinary torture might or might not be categorized as a form of play, the first half of this essay is dedicated to addressing these reasons and developing a logical framework for its inclusion as a form of play.

The second half of this essay considers the relationship between torture and the experience of Black people descended from slavery, and what this might add to our understanding of play and games today. Ten children walk in a playground casually speaking to one another. Soon the group scatters as a melee ensues. The game is tag, and its very grammar suggests that even innocent play may well be a violent activity. The game divides players into subjects and objects. Once a player is tagged they are moved to reconcile this by tagging another. In this, the simplest of play, it is revealed that play is not a relationship between subjects.

Instead, it is a relationship between subject and object. The critical hinge upon which the relationship between torture and play swings is the question of consent. Play, as many contemporary game de theorists have argued, is a fundamentally consensual relationship Salen and Zimmerman,p.

Because consent is central to many definitions of play, we are left with the paradox explained in the introduction where consensual torture satisfies a definition of play while non-consensual torture does not. The examples given to justify this distinction are almost always formal. They speak more to a desire of what play s hould be rather than from an bdsm torture games of what play is. Is consent negotiated when we play with a computer or when we play with ourselves? Play mediates in ways that are not as straightforward as they may at first seem.

In fact, it forces us to reconcile the violence that lies at the heart of innumerable social relationships. The consensual relationship structured by play often works by way of another term—that play is negotiated. Here, Sicart nests the idea of negotiation within bdsm torture games concept of play, building on the prior work of Jesper Juul who sought to locate the idea of negotiation within the concept of the game instead. For Juul, all games have negotiable consequences, negotiation being a key differentiation between what is a game and what is war.

In either case, whether negotiation is considered fundamental to play or games, it reflects a broader understanding of either phenomenon that is consensual. When players negotiate, they treat one another as fellow humans, and not as objects. Yet, so often play is not negotiated.

David Leonard argues that in sports video games where the pd White player is invited to take on the role of Black athletes, without being forced to live through the trauma of Black experience, play is not negotiated Leonard,paragraph 5.

Bdsm torture games

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