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102

Play: Coming of Age in the Speculative Pokéconomy

5
terms
6
notes

Haiven, M. (2014). Play: Coming of Age in the Speculative Pokéconomy. In Haiven, M. Cultures of Financialization: Fictitious Capital in Popular Culture and Everyday Life. Palgrave MacMillan, pp. 102-129

(adjective) of, relating to, or characterized by play; playful

106

this semi-ludic approach to risk management has dramatic and grave consequences

—p.106 by Max Haiven
notable
1 year, 6 months ago

this semi-ludic approach to risk management has dramatic and grave consequences

—p.106 by Max Haiven
notable
1 year, 6 months ago
108

Such an examination draws us into some of the central debates and tensions within the field of cultural studies, a field that has always wagered its explanatory power and political promise on the interpretation of the tensions between structure and agency and, in particular, the dynamic relationship of the broad economic structures of capitalism and the possibilities of thinking, dreaming and acting outside, within or against those systems. It is no exaggeration that, whatever we might say about the nature of its influence over our lives, the global economy is by far the most universal, powerful and interwoven system of power on the planet. People everywhere live and die by their pocketbooks. Local modes of oppression and exploitation, from racism to sexism to ablism to homo- phobia, tend to express themselves most universally in the form of economic privilege or privation and the division of labour. And this is all overseen or superintended by a global financial system that coordinates the global flows of financial wealth and disciplines the global economy. And, while a great deal of attention has been paid to the scourge of neoliberalism, one worries that this term tends to appear (like globalization, and perhaps financialization) as a short-hand for whatever seems worst at the moment. Little importance tends to be placed on a more elaborate consideration of the machinations of the global capitalist economy, of which neoliberalism is an important phase, but by no means the first or the worst.

i just like how this is written

—p.108 by Max Haiven 1 year, 6 months ago

Such an examination draws us into some of the central debates and tensions within the field of cultural studies, a field that has always wagered its explanatory power and political promise on the interpretation of the tensions between structure and agency and, in particular, the dynamic relationship of the broad economic structures of capitalism and the possibilities of thinking, dreaming and acting outside, within or against those systems. It is no exaggeration that, whatever we might say about the nature of its influence over our lives, the global economy is by far the most universal, powerful and interwoven system of power on the planet. People everywhere live and die by their pocketbooks. Local modes of oppression and exploitation, from racism to sexism to ablism to homo- phobia, tend to express themselves most universally in the form of economic privilege or privation and the division of labour. And this is all overseen or superintended by a global financial system that coordinates the global flows of financial wealth and disciplines the global economy. And, while a great deal of attention has been paid to the scourge of neoliberalism, one worries that this term tends to appear (like globalization, and perhaps financialization) as a short-hand for whatever seems worst at the moment. Little importance tends to be placed on a more elaborate consideration of the machinations of the global capitalist economy, of which neoliberalism is an important phase, but by no means the first or the worst.

i just like how this is written

—p.108 by Max Haiven 1 year, 6 months ago
111

So, increasingly, under financialized capitalism, which has seen the bleed of financial logics into the fabric of daily life, we are guided to act in the world on the basis of economic imperatives. Our social cooperation with other people is based increasingly on the mediation of money, in the sense that more and more aspects of our lives become “services” and more and more of our material culture becomes commodities [...] That said, as De Angelis (2007, 34–35) takes pains to make clear, the vast majority of relationships and activities that matter to most people are, by and large, based on non-economic values like friendship, family, solidarity, cooperation and equality. In this sense, all points of life are a struggle between, on the one hand, the relentless threat of commodification and, on the other, the semi-autonomous negotiation of values based on the necessities and contingencies of social reproduction. This is not to suggest that there is a set of universally “good” values, which we need only discover and live by, and they are eternally counterposed against “bad” capitalist values. It is to say that capital represents a unilateral value logic that seeks to confine and redirect the negotiation of social values more broadly towards its own ends. Put otherwise, capitalism can and should also be seen as a system that functions to reorient the reproduction of social life towards its own reproduction by coopting, conscripting and reshaping the way values are imagined and practiced, under the banner of commodification, monetization, quantitative measurement and exploitative discipline.

holy shit this is great

—p.111 by Max Haiven 1 year, 6 months ago

So, increasingly, under financialized capitalism, which has seen the bleed of financial logics into the fabric of daily life, we are guided to act in the world on the basis of economic imperatives. Our social cooperation with other people is based increasingly on the mediation of money, in the sense that more and more aspects of our lives become “services” and more and more of our material culture becomes commodities [...] That said, as De Angelis (2007, 34–35) takes pains to make clear, the vast majority of relationships and activities that matter to most people are, by and large, based on non-economic values like friendship, family, solidarity, cooperation and equality. In this sense, all points of life are a struggle between, on the one hand, the relentless threat of commodification and, on the other, the semi-autonomous negotiation of values based on the necessities and contingencies of social reproduction. This is not to suggest that there is a set of universally “good” values, which we need only discover and live by, and they are eternally counterposed against “bad” capitalist values. It is to say that capital represents a unilateral value logic that seeks to confine and redirect the negotiation of social values more broadly towards its own ends. Put otherwise, capitalism can and should also be seen as a system that functions to reorient the reproduction of social life towards its own reproduction by coopting, conscripting and reshaping the way values are imagined and practiced, under the banner of commodification, monetization, quantitative measurement and exploitative discipline.

holy shit this is great

—p.111 by Max Haiven 1 year, 6 months ago

(adj) exhibiting different colors, especially as irregular patches or streaks

116

Today, capitalism as a cultural force is far more versatile, variegated and pluralistic

—p.116 by Max Haiven
notable
1 year, 6 months ago

Today, capitalism as a cultural force is far more versatile, variegated and pluralistic

—p.116 by Max Haiven
notable
1 year, 6 months ago
122

The value of Pokémon cards is clearly imaginary. Even in their initial, commodified form, a slip of mass-produced, coloured cardboard is by no stretch of the imagination “worth” the money children wish to pay for them. Within most economistic analyzes, and many Marxist ones, it would simply be assumed that the “use-value” of the cards is worth the extra price, and that this “use” is basically enjoyment or distraction (whether interpreted positively or negatively). But the “use-value” of the cards is really the way they serve as a medium for the negotiation of value, which is highly imaginative, remarkably collaborative (if sometimes coercive) and largely autonomous. However, it is an imagination, collaboration and autonomy achieved through and predicated on access to the Pokémon card commodity. And that commodity carries with it its own logic and constraints. While it is possible that children might make radically different use of Pokémon cards than the basic theme of collection/battle/nurture/train/accumulate, these tendencies repeat in children’s play with Pokémon cards through a combination of the cards’ own material logic (they are highly collectable and suggest themselves for these purposes) and intertextual reinforcement, not only from other Pokémon media (films, comic books, etc.) but from a whole society in which values of acquisition, competitiveness, accumulation and hierarchy are privileged in uncountable subtle ways. So, while children may exercise their agency and imagination in their play with Pokémon cards, and while they may use them to negotiate their own social values and reproduce (and transform) their social circles, they do so in conditions not of their own choosing.

love the subtle nod to marx at the end. this is amazing

—p.122 by Max Haiven 1 year, 6 months ago

The value of Pokémon cards is clearly imaginary. Even in their initial, commodified form, a slip of mass-produced, coloured cardboard is by no stretch of the imagination “worth” the money children wish to pay for them. Within most economistic analyzes, and many Marxist ones, it would simply be assumed that the “use-value” of the cards is worth the extra price, and that this “use” is basically enjoyment or distraction (whether interpreted positively or negatively). But the “use-value” of the cards is really the way they serve as a medium for the negotiation of value, which is highly imaginative, remarkably collaborative (if sometimes coercive) and largely autonomous. However, it is an imagination, collaboration and autonomy achieved through and predicated on access to the Pokémon card commodity. And that commodity carries with it its own logic and constraints. While it is possible that children might make radically different use of Pokémon cards than the basic theme of collection/battle/nurture/train/accumulate, these tendencies repeat in children’s play with Pokémon cards through a combination of the cards’ own material logic (they are highly collectable and suggest themselves for these purposes) and intertextual reinforcement, not only from other Pokémon media (films, comic books, etc.) but from a whole society in which values of acquisition, competitiveness, accumulation and hierarchy are privileged in uncountable subtle ways. So, while children may exercise their agency and imagination in their play with Pokémon cards, and while they may use them to negotiate their own social values and reproduce (and transform) their social circles, they do so in conditions not of their own choosing.

love the subtle nod to marx at the end. this is amazing

—p.122 by Max Haiven 1 year, 6 months ago

pertaining to a dialogue; used by the Russian philosopher Mikhail Bakhtin in his work of literary theory, The Dialogic Imagination

124

popular culture shapes the dialogic relationship between structure and agency

—p.124 by Max Haiven
notable
1 year, 6 months ago

popular culture shapes the dialogic relationship between structure and agency

—p.124 by Max Haiven
notable
1 year, 6 months ago
125

[...] virtuosity, for Virno, is our capacity to create value, and, in an age of cognitive capitalism, it is that capacity that is ever more at stake. Financialization, I suggest, is a key means of capturing, shaping and enclosing virtuosity. What is Wall Street except a massive “machine” (in the Deleuzian sense of the term) for harnessing and putting to work the incredible creative and cognitive energies of a massive pool of financial workers? And what is debt (finance’s key product) except a complicated means of disciplining virtuosity, of creating a situation in which one must apply one’s creativity, ingenuity and social and cultural capacities towards capitalist ends (Lazzarato 2012)? [...]

—p.125 by Max Haiven 1 year, 6 months ago

[...] virtuosity, for Virno, is our capacity to create value, and, in an age of cognitive capitalism, it is that capacity that is ever more at stake. Financialization, I suggest, is a key means of capturing, shaping and enclosing virtuosity. What is Wall Street except a massive “machine” (in the Deleuzian sense of the term) for harnessing and putting to work the incredible creative and cognitive energies of a massive pool of financial workers? And what is debt (finance’s key product) except a complicated means of disciplining virtuosity, of creating a situation in which one must apply one’s creativity, ingenuity and social and cultural capacities towards capitalist ends (Lazzarato 2012)? [...]

—p.125 by Max Haiven 1 year, 6 months ago
125

So understanding Pokémon cards as a financialized practice, one in which children internalize, play with and rearticulate the ambient codes and cultural thematics of the financialized societies in which they live, should not lead us to the conclusion that they are purely hegemonic in a reductionist sense of that term (a one-way, rulingclass effort to re-educate subalterns and, thus, reproduce dominant social relations). Yet it is equally important to note that, like money, Pokémon cards do not exist in a vacuum where their value is purely a matter of interpersonal negotiation and convivial play. More accurately, Pokémon is a site where we can see multiple frames of value at work. Like an ocean gyre, it is a meeting-point of multiple, conflicting and complex currents, within which material debris ebbs and flows. In children’s Pokémon card play we can find a key example of the way financialization is articulated in daily life, but also the way that articulation enjoys and, indeed, depends on an interval of play, autonomy and creativity that cannot simply be reduced to superstructural ephemera.

wowwwww

—p.125 by Max Haiven 1 year, 6 months ago

So understanding Pokémon cards as a financialized practice, one in which children internalize, play with and rearticulate the ambient codes and cultural thematics of the financialized societies in which they live, should not lead us to the conclusion that they are purely hegemonic in a reductionist sense of that term (a one-way, rulingclass effort to re-educate subalterns and, thus, reproduce dominant social relations). Yet it is equally important to note that, like money, Pokémon cards do not exist in a vacuum where their value is purely a matter of interpersonal negotiation and convivial play. More accurately, Pokémon is a site where we can see multiple frames of value at work. Like an ocean gyre, it is a meeting-point of multiple, conflicting and complex currents, within which material debris ebbs and flows. In children’s Pokémon card play we can find a key example of the way financialization is articulated in daily life, but also the way that articulation enjoys and, indeed, depends on an interval of play, autonomy and creativity that cannot simply be reduced to superstructural ephemera.

wowwwww

—p.125 by Max Haiven 1 year, 6 months ago
127

[...] Pokémon is a site where children “learn to learn” (Buckingham and Sefton-Green 2004, 30) to develop financialized subjecthood and a sense of agency germane to a world without guarantees where social values are bartered, where the individual is an isolated economic agent and where society is merely the sum of its people’s economic decisions. This learning is clearly not the intention of the Nintendo Corporation, but the brand works and takes such a hold of children’s imagination because they, on a deep existential level, recognize what Pokémon can offer them: it affirms a world they see all around them, from observing their parents’ increasingly episodic careers and financial woes to the sorts of narratives they witness on television and the media. Pokémon’s success stems from its resonance within and reproduction of the ethos of financialization.

relevant to the marxist analysis of runescape that i WILL write one day

—p.127 by Max Haiven 1 year, 6 months ago

[...] Pokémon is a site where children “learn to learn” (Buckingham and Sefton-Green 2004, 30) to develop financialized subjecthood and a sense of agency germane to a world without guarantees where social values are bartered, where the individual is an isolated economic agent and where society is merely the sum of its people’s economic decisions. This learning is clearly not the intention of the Nintendo Corporation, but the brand works and takes such a hold of children’s imagination because they, on a deep existential level, recognize what Pokémon can offer them: it affirms a world they see all around them, from observing their parents’ increasingly episodic careers and financial woes to the sorts of narratives they witness on television and the media. Pokémon’s success stems from its resonance within and reproduction of the ethos of financialization.

relevant to the marxist analysis of runescape that i WILL write one day

—p.127 by Max Haiven 1 year, 6 months ago

a manuscript or piece of writing material on which the original writing has been effaced to make room for later writing but of which traces remain

128

the palimpsest of cultural meanings that preoccupy the way we imagine housing and security.

—p.128 by Max Haiven
notable
1 year, 6 months ago

the palimpsest of cultural meanings that preoccupy the way we imagine housing and security.

—p.128 by Max Haiven
notable
1 year, 6 months ago

(noun, Greek mythology) protective mantle of Zeus given to Athena

128

all of this commodification and agency occurs under the aegis of a system dominated by financial flows and speculations

—p.128 by Max Haiven
notable
1 year, 6 months ago

all of this commodification and agency occurs under the aegis of a system dominated by financial flows and speculations

—p.128 by Max Haiven
notable
1 year, 6 months ago