Playbor. Superimposition of Labor and Leisure in Modern Capitalism

Adrian Zabielski
(Institute of Philosophy, Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń)

Modern world of work is getting more and more precarious. One of the aspects of this process is that the division between labor and leisure is blurring. The former colonizes the latter – worker is always at work, even after punching out. On the other hand, elements of leisure, such as play, are implemented into the labor, for example as motivational tools, but in a result as tools of power and control. Time of work is being gamified. According to this mode of production, creativity, playfulness and labor should go hand in hand. In addition, we face ideological constructs, that work should be fun, or that if one turns his passion into a career, one will never have to work again. This opens up a space for exploitation of modern workers, especially the ones working in creative industries, such as art, IT or academia. To describe this phenomenon, Julian Kücklich proposed the term playbor. It made a small career in critical game studies, but in my presentation I will argue that this notion can be extended to other areas of life. I will present examples of playbor and theoretical approach behind them to show that we are all, in one way or another, playborers.

Adrian Zabielski – doctoral candidate at Department of Contemporary Philosophy, Institute of Philosophy, Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun, Poland. Interested in broadly considered utopistics, philosophy of politics, philosophy of (pop)culture and STS.