THE AMBIGUITY OF PLAY and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
  • List Price: $39.00
  • Save: $8.70 (22%)
Rented from Amazon Warehouse Deals
To Rent, select Shipping State from options above
Due Date: Dec 21, 2014
FREE return shipping at the end of the semester. Access codes and supplements are not guaranteed with rentals.
Qty:1
  • List Price: $39.00
  • Save: $2.76 (7%)
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
Add to Cart
Trade in your item
Get a $10.99
Gift Card.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

The Ambiguity of Play Paperback – June 14, 2001

ISBN-13: 978-0674005815 ISBN-10: 0674005813 Edition: 1st

Buy New
Price: $36.24
Rent
Price: $30.30
18 New from $32.33 16 Used from $23.94
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$61.18
Paperback
"Please retry"
$36.24
$32.33 $23.94
Free%20Two-Day%20Shipping%20for%20College%20Students%20with%20Amazon%20Student


Frequently Bought Together

The Ambiguity of Play + Man, Play and Games + Homo Ludens: A Study of the Play-Element in Culture
Price for all three: $80.72

Buy the selected items together

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Save up to 90% on Textbooks
Rent textbooks, buy textbooks, or get up to 80% back when you sell us your books. Shop Now

Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press; 1 edition (June 14, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674005813
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674005815
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 5.9 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #362,607 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Brian Sutton-Smith presents a lively, contemplative and challenging theoretical discussion of the "category of diverse learnings"...that make up play...Sutton-Smith presents a variety of play dimensions that cause disturbance of theoretical certainty and bring together hitherto unconnected ideas on play in the tradition of creativity. The book explores its chosen rhetorics in a scholarly and yet undeniably accessible way. The material included is multi-faceted and multi-layered drawing on theories across the centuries and presenting a case for a new look at play. Play is taken beyond the rhetoric of progress leaving the reader alive and alert to the possibilities of play that transcend generations and cultures. (Jill Williams British Journal of Educational Studies)

This book provides a comprehensive analysis of extant theory and research on the subject of play in children and adults in a variety of cultural contexts with relevant comparisons to play in nonhuman species. The work is thorough and well referenced and provides new insights on a classic topic in children's social development. The primary issue addressed is the ambiguous nature of play. Although we have a sense of what constitutes play, when asked to define it, explain its function, or even identify players, its paradoxical nature becomes apparent--it is and is not what it appears to be. Does and does not have a function, is and is not the purview of children. (Child Development Abstracts & Bibliography)

A wonderful and important book. Its strength is its depth and its breadth. Play is discussed in incredibly close detail, and from diverse perspectives: from anthropology to zoology, to literary criticism and biology. This work represents the one most thorough discussion of play that we have. (Anthony Pellegrini, University of Georgia)

A stunning book and a superbly scholarly undertaking which will make it impossible to discuss play in the simplistic terms we are accustomed to. (Greta Fein, University of Maryland at College Park)

The Ambiguity of Play is an extremely important contribution to theoretical discussions about play not only in the United States but around the world. The book provides a platform for further theoretical reflection, interdisciplinary dialogue, and for critical examination of long-held beliefs about child development and education. Sutton-Smith succeeds at maintaining a playful tone throughout, and lives up in his own rhetoric to the topic at hand. (Petra Hesse, Wheelock College)

Review

A wonderful and important book. Its strength is its depth and its breadth. Play is discussed in incredibly close detail, and from diverse perspectives: from anthropology to zoology, to literary criticism and biology. This work represents the one most thorough discussion of play that we have. (Anthony Pellegrini, University of Georgia) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars
5 star
3
4 star
0
3 star
0
2 star
0
1 star
0
See all 3 customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 45 people found the following review helpful By felicia mcmahon on March 29, 2000
Format: Hardcover
In a novel approach to an understanding of the everyday phenomenon that we call "play," Professor Sutton-Smith tackles this slippery subject by analyzing the persuasive techniques that researchers use to define play. "We all play occasionally, and we all know what playing feels like. But when it comes to making theoretical statements about what play is, we fall into silliness," claims Sutton-Smith. In his attempt to bring some coherence to past scholarship of the ambiguous field of play studies, Sutton-Smith not only challenges conventional definitions of play but manages somehow to succintly summarize all major and minor theorists in a mere 231 pages. The text is laced with numerous examples to support Sutton-Smith's contention that all theories of play to date fall into one of seven rhetorical categories. He clearly points to the problem of consensus on the definition of play in a field that is divided among different disciplines each claiming that its own kind of play is the one that is central to the phenomenon. Although the book is not directed to a popular audience, it is an excellent text for classroom use in many academic disciplines.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Allen Baird on March 14, 2014
Format: Paperback
There are books on play, then are books on play studies, then there is this. Stuart Brown has an excellent book on the science of play, Huizinga wrote a pioneering work on play theory, but Sutton-Smith (SS) has outplayed them all.

Let me be Frank. This is a textbook. It reads like a textbook. It contains technical terminology, schema and classifications, definitions, references and all the usual academic tools. Some parts require serious brainpower to appreciate. The list of primary and secondary sources is massive and most impressive.

But it’s more than a mere textbook, much more. Here’s what it does for you.

It gathers together all previous theories, theorists and key works by contributors to the field of play studies. It gathers them from the widest range of disciplines possible. Then it categorises them according to seven major meta-themes or “rhetorics” that nicely bundle together all these disparate elements in such a way as to expose their core meanings and spread them over a timeline from ancient to modern. And then, for each of the seven, it picks out the main adherents, interacts with them in a lively and insightful discussion, and summarises the rest.

The work does have a weakness, but it is not the fault of SS. The Index is inadequate to the task of serving such a key text. It only picks out major interactions with a particular author and excludes all minor mentions. This infuriates me. For example, in the chapter on “the rhetoric of self” I was excited that SS focuses attention on the ‘flow’ theory of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi but there are several places where he (ps. 200, 207) and his theory (67, 81, 174, 188, 192, 195, 207) are mentioned in the text but not in the Index. Same with Nietzsche (57, 60, 132, 151, 190-1, 220).
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
2 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A. swan on September 7, 2008
Format: Paperback
This is a great read and a must for anyone outside the feild of childrens play. I say that as everyone in the field know this man's work and reputation.
Anyone working with kids should learn to evaluate their own work and position within the field. This book will help you do that.
Mind you if you don't regularly learn from working with children, you are definetly doing something wrong!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Customer Images