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The German notion of Spielraum, which can be translated as “room-for-play” or “space for free play”, implies a relationship between rules and free movement within rules which is a defining feature of playing and games in general. Delving into the work of key urban philosophers Walter Benjamin, Guy Debord and the Situationists, Henri Lefebvre and Michel de Certeau, this chapter develops a theoretical framework around the notion of Spielraum and enquires into the connection between the city, play and democratic life. The latter refers to the participation of citizens in the processes that determine individual and collective life and calls both for prioritising inhabitants’ use of space over idealised planning and for counteracting the negative effects of capitalism and other power relations. Following on from this, the last section of the chapter analyses two seminal case studies from architecture and art, the first concerning Aldo van Eyck's Amsterdam playgrounds and the second the work of the artist Francis Alÿs. In different ways, the two explore the link between the political dimension of collective play and aesthetic experiences that can foster the transfiguration of urban space and strengthen democratic life.
|Title of host publication||Play and Democracy|
|Subtitle of host publication||Philosophical Perspectives|
|Editors||Alice Koubová, Petr Urban, Wendy Russell, Malcolm MacLean|
|Place of Publication||Oxon, New York|
|Number of pages||16|
|Publication status||Published - Jan 2022|
|Event||Philosophy at Play Conference – Play and Democracy - Institute of Philosophy of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague, Czech Republic|
Duration: 24 Jun 2019 → 26 Jun 2019
|Conference||Philosophy at Play Conference – Play and Democracy|
|Period||24/06/19 → 26/06/19|
- Democratic life
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- 1 Oral presentation