Games as cultural practice: Postcolonial imaginations



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Texas Tech University


By creating three board games based on the political frontier between México and the United States, I attempt to promote discourse and interest among 26 participating players about the reality of the border. I also present an alternative perception to that which has been created by sensationalist media, chismes, and indifference. Critical theories like postcolonialism (e.g., Fanon, 1963), feminism (e.g., Saldívar-Hull, 2000), play theory (e.g., Pellegrini, 1995), subaltern studies (e.g., Sandoval, 2000), and autobiographical memory (e.g., Bluck, 2003) play an important role in my exploration of this border, and are relevant to the design of the games employed as the medium for interpersonal interaction. Players answered questionnaires before their game experiences and participated in a group interview after playing the games. Games sessions were also videotaped. A follow up in the form of an e-mail questionnaire was sent to collaborating players. Ultimately, my analysis revealed that board games serve as effective tools to inform, promote discourse, and create interest among people in relation to the social topics presented.



Subaltern studies, Postcolonialism, Play theory, Social studies