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Philosophy for the Playful University: Towards a Theoretical Foundation for Playful Higher Education

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Although higher education today is focused on creativity, imagination, innovation and personal growth, this is largely embedded within frameworks of marketisation, knowledge production and performance economies. Over the past 40 years, the university and higher education worldwide has found itself subject to a neoliberal agenda of corporatisation, up-skilling, employability and accountability. As a consequence, higher education institutions and academic life are being reconfigured and corporatised to account for these shifts growing out of ‘new capitalism’, ‘the knowledge economy’ and ‘the accelerated university’. The present chapter seeks to provide an antidote to this through creating a foundation for the playful university and playful higher education. A groundwork for what it means to be intentionally and substantially playful, that in turn can constitute a well-founded way forward for the university as a playful force in the world. Reading into prominent works on play philosophy, play theory and key texts on play and playfulness in higher education, three significant play frames arise: (1) playful curiosity; play as life and force within higher education exploratoriums; (2) playful creativity; play as form and act within higher education experimentariums; and (3) playful communality; play fellowship and play culture within higher education collaboratoriums. These three play frames are instrumental in substantiating the notion of the playful university and constituting a foundation for the emergence of playful higher education.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe University Becoming : Perspectives from Philosophy and Social Theory
EditorsSøren S. E. Bengtsen, Sarah Robinson, Wesley Shumar
Place of publicationCham
PublisherSpringer
Publication year2021
Pages141-156
ISBN (print)978-3-030-69627-6
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-69628-3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021
SeriesDebating Higher Education: Philosophical Perspectives
Volume6
ISSN2366-2581

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