Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: May 18, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412971935 | Print ISBN: 9781412966702 | Online ISBN: 9781412971935| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Homo Ludens (Huizinga)
In 1938 Johan Huizinga (1872–1945) wrote Homo Ludens: A Study of the Play Element in Culture . This was the last book written by this Dutch comparative linguist and cultural historian. It remains one of the most influential books about play. A later critic of it, Roger Caillois, stated that though most of its premises are debatable, it opens up many ideas for research about play. The title of this book comes from homo , meaning man, and ludens , meaning play. Huizinga writes that play is interwoven with culture, and the essence of play is that it is fun. He further writes that play cannot be reduced to anything else. Play cannot be viewed as a function of something else; you play because you want to play. He argued that while play is a part of culture, since animals play, play exists before culture. The fact that animals play ...