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Gamification and the Compassionate Imagination

Sun, May 28, 15:30 to 16:45, Hilton San Diego Bayfront, Floor: 3, Aqua 314


This article examines how gamification can ignite the compassionate imagination - extensions of sympathies towards those who participate in demotivating jobs - and how those circumstances relate to a mode of endurance under neoliberal capitalism. Using digital games as a basis, gamification advocates argue that implementing game elements into work can foster the development of ideal subjectivities in occupations that have been traditionally devalued. However, reading critically into the discourse of gamification and the theory of flow developed by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi – a theoretical framework commonly used in gamification – it is possible to identity how such optimism is grounded in survival, a means for subjects to disengage from reality so that their present hardship may be made more bearable. This indicates how attempts at the improvement of work experience may involve a politics of compromise, a means of helping workers cope with their situation rather than produce conditions of flourishing.


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