Playful Participation in Social Games

  • Thomas Markussen University of Southern Denmark, Department of Communication and Design
  • Eva Knutz University of Southern Denmark, Department of Communication and Design
Keywords: Social design, social research, play theory, game-based design, participatory art theory, participatory culture


In this paper we introduce social games as a new terrain for studies in participatory culture. Social games defy easy classification and cannot be appropriately understood from existing research perspectives. Initially, we therefore attempt to define social games by comparing it with related game genres, notably serious games and health games. To further increase knowledge of social games we introduce a typology of playful participation in social games. The typology is build up by using formal concepts from theories of participatory art. Its range of application is then demonstrated through an empirical analysis of eight social game prototypes that are designed as part of an on-going 3-year research project called Social Games against Crime. The purpose of this project is to develop social games that can help children build resilience towards many of the personal and social problems they experience as a result of parental incarceration.


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How to Cite
Markussen, T., & Knutz, E. (2017). Playful Participation in Social Games. Conjunctions. Transdisciplinary Journal of Cultural Participation, 4(1).