In the introduction to Ludics, Visiting Professor Eric Gordon and Vassiliki Rapti write that “this book takes the bold position that play is an antidote to dark times. Rather than an escape hatch, it provides opportunity for discovery, connection, joy, care, and relational aesthetics—conditions that are central to worldliness, not extraneous to it. […] This book is not a critique of the humanities, but rather a celebration of the play drive, ‘the core of humanity,’ in Friedrich Schiller’s words, which binds humanistic inquiry together.Take notice of Schiller’s famous quote, for instance: ‘Man plays only when he is in the full sense of the word man, and he is only wholly Man when he is playing.'”
Eric Gordon is a professor of civic media and the director of the Engagement Lab at Emerson College in Boston. His research focuses on the transformation of public life and governance in digital culture, specifically looking at the context of equitable and generative “smart cities.” For the last ten years, Professor Gordon has explored the role of play and creativity in civic life, looking at how game systems and playful processes can augment traditional modes of civic participation. He has served as an expert advisor for local and national governments, as well as NGOs around the world, designing responsive processes that help organizations transform to meet their stated values. He has created over a dozen games for public sector use and advised organizations on how to build their own inclusive and meaningful processes. He is the author of two books about media and cities (The Urban Spectator (2010) and Net Locality (2011)) and is the editor of Civic Media: Technology, Design, Practice (MIT Press, 2016) and the forthcoming Ludics: Play as Humanistic Inquiry (Palgrave, 2020). His most recent monograph, Meaningful Inefficiencies: Civic Design in an Age of Digital Expediency (Oxford University Press, 2020) examines practices in government, journalism and NGOs that reimagine innovation beyond efficiency to focus on play and care.