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Play, leisure and anthropology Play and leisure may include: • Sports, hobbies: playing cards, playing pool, gardening, recreational travel, dancing, etc. Play: a cultural activity that is framed or highlighted from other activities of ordinary life. Play: --Separate from other activities --Limited --Structured --With specific rules --Element of tension and change Metacommunication Communication about communication Play:Two kinds of Metacommunication • • • • • • Framing: --sense of separation --out of ordinary life Reflexivity: --(conscious of being conscious) --aware of our actions The Functions of Play • Exercise • Rehearsal for life • Microcosm of culture • Spiritual quest What do we learn by studying play and leisure activities? • • • • • • Cultural relations Intercultural relations Social status Individual and group goals Cultural and social identity Social patterns Leisure and play: between pleasure and pain • Blood sports --boxing, extreme fights • What is in it for the player? --Money? Prestige? • Why do spectators like to watch bloody sports? --Cultural identity? --Personal satisfaction? Leisure travel • • • • • • From core to peripheral nations Marketing of exotic others and exotic lands Selling fantasies, desires Pristine way of life Authentic cultures Transformation of cultural forms influenced by tourism Change in Expressive culture is universal • • • • • Influences go both ways --globalization of mass media --african music and art Latin dance and Music Asian performances Cultural Syncretism: when a cultural activity is influenced by or appropriated into the cultural fabric of another culture Conclusion Expressive culture comprises art, leisure activities and play Anthropologists look at expressive culture in order to learn about social and cultural interactions Discussion questions 1. Why do anthropologists insist that to understand art in a particular society or culture one needs to look beyond the art itself? Explain. 2. Could you think of an example of play that reinforces or is a microcosm of cultural values in a region of Canada or in another culture?