Digital Materialities and Family Practices: The Gendered, Practical, Aesthetical and Technological Domestication of Play

Jessica Enevold


Digital gameplay is now firmly embedded in everyday practices in many Scandinavian homes. This paper deals with the constitution of such practices in families by taking a closer look at the material objects essential to play and their role in the “design of everyday life” (Shove et al 2007). It uses ethnographic methods and anthropological practice theory to attend to the domestic spaces of leisure and play, the home environment, where a large part of today’s practices of playing digital games takes place. It focuses on the stagings of material, not virtual, artifacts of gaming: screens, consoles and hand-held devices essential to play and their locations and movements around the home. It demonstrates how everyday practices – seemingly mundane scenographies and choreographies – practically, aesthetically and technologically determined, order everyday space, time and artifacts; and domesticate play and condition performances of family, gender and gaming. In the process, a history of the domestication of play unfolds.

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