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Playbour and the gamification of work: Liminal spaces of empowerment and exploitation
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Geography, Media and Communication. (NODE)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0501-2217
2017 (English)Conference paper, Presentation (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In recent years, the trend of incorporating playful thinking and game elements within working processes has gained popularity among organizations and businesses. The rhetoric behind this phenomenon is anchored in newfound sources of worker empowerment, self-realization for employees and turning labour into a fun and enjoyable experience. This paper aims to critically analyze the practical and theoretical outcomes of gamifying labour by contextualizing such celebratory claims vis à vis technological opaque assemblages grounded in exploitation, surveillance and control.

While the appropriation of play for working and commercial purposes is nothing new, the rise of networked technologies used to automatically track, quantify and analyze worker behavior bring to the fore concerns about increasingly blurring of work and play, and the way in which productivity, motivation and labour politics are understood. But the instrumentatlization of play and games disrupts their “proper place” in society, generating liminal spaces that pack logics of empowerment and exploitation at the same time. By using several practical cases, this paper exemplifies the balance between the utilitarian and hedonic logics of gamification and the contradictory tensions between the empowering and exploitative motives behind its use. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017.
Keyword [en]
Playbor, gamification, exploitation, empowerment, surveillance, liminal spaces
National Category
Media and Communications
Research subject
Media and Communication Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-62525OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-62525DiVA: diva2:1128152
Conference
Geomedia 2017, Karlstad, Sweden
Available from: 2017-07-22 Created: 2017-07-22 Last updated: 2017-07-22

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf