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Bright bricks, dark play: On the impossibility of studying LEGO

Giddings, Seth

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Authors



Contributors

Mark J.P. Wolf
Editor

Abstract

It is generally recognized that the pleasures of LEGO do not end once the instructions in a particular set have been followed and the model depicted on the box is accurately realized. Generations of children have —just as the manufacturers intended— pulled apart the pristine model and begun again, making new vehicles, environments and creatures. The new set joins the larger box of LEGO full of older bricks, and is mixed and hybridized. This hybridization has become particularly evident in recent decades where licensed and themed sets (space, homes, Star Wars, Harry Potter, Friends, etc.) and their specific colors, decals and shapes get jumbled and repurposed. But if the vast majority of time spent playing with LEGO does not follow the instructions, how can it be studied? This chapter will acknowledge the impossibility of fully accounting for LEGO play, but it will offer some approaches to it, some hints at this lost multitude of transitory gameworlds and constructions. Through ethnographic studies of contemporary play and memory-work with older children and adults, it will trace particular instances of the interactions between the materiality of LEGO and the phantasmagoric worlds of play it affords.

Citation

Giddings, S. (2014). Bright bricks, dark play: On the impossibility of studying LEGO. In M. J. Wolf (Ed.), LEGO Studies: Examining the Building Blocks of a Transmedial Phenomenon. New York: Taylor & Francis (Routledge). https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315858012

Online Publication Date Nov 13, 2014
Publication Date Nov 19, 2014
Deposit Date Aug 7, 2014
Publicly Available Date Jul 28, 2016
Publisher Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Book Title LEGO Studies: Examining the Building Blocks of a Transmedial Phenomenon
Chapter Number 14
ISBN 9780415722872
DOI https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315858012
Keywords Lego, toys, children's culture, ethnography, microethology, children's media
Public URL https://uwe-repository.worktribe.com/output/807674
Publisher URL http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415722919/
Additional Information Additional Information : This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge in LEGO Studies: Examining the Building Blocks of a Transmedial Phenomenon on 17 November 2014, available online: http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415722919/

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