In Play and the Human Condition, Thomas Henricks brings together ways of considering play to probe its essential relationship to work, ritual, and communitas. Focusing on five contexts for play--the psyche, the body, the environment, society, and culture--Henricks identifies conditions that instigate play, and comments on its implications for those settings. Offering a general theory of play as behavior promoting self-realization, Henricks articulates a conception of self that includes individual and social identity, particular and transcendent connection, and multiple fields of involvement. Henricks also evaluates play styles from history and contemporary life to analyze the relationship between play and human freedom. Imaginative and stimulating, Play and the Human Condition shows how play allows us to learn about our qualities and those of the world around us--and in so doing make sense of ourselves.
"This work will help shape and unify the field of play studies. I have not read its equal; in fact, there is nothing elsewhere quite like it."
--Scott G. Eberle, vice president for play studies at The Strong National Museum of Play
"Play and the Human Condition is a book as ambitious as its title… An erudite reading of the vast tradition of play studies, from sociology and psychology to cultural anthropology. It is also an original contribution to understanding play--provocative, informative and enlightening."--American Journal of Play