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Session Overview
RN05_09b_P: Leisure, Digital and Media Consumpion
Friday, 01/Sep/2017:
11:00am - 12:30pm

Session Chair: Anita Borch, Oslo and Akershus University College/Consumption Research Norway (SIFO)
Location: PA.1.2
PANTEION University of Social & Political Sciences 136 Syggrou Avenue 17671 Athens, Greece Building: A, Level: 1.

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Is playing a videogame a craft?

Tom Brock, Emma Fraser

Manchester Metropolitan University, United Kingdom

Explanations of computer game consumption tend towards a focus on the relationship between play, narrative and its context(s) to explain consumer behaviour. The dominant narrative that underwrites these explanations is that play, through gaming, is often undertaken to escape reality and that games are consumed to help people actualise desires and fantasies that are otherwise unattainable in their everyday lives. Thus, it has been argued that games offer a variety of ‘imaginative escapes’ from routine life, such as the collection of in-game items or achievements, which are seen to provide players with a sense of ‘progress’ that is otherwise lacking from their working lives. In this article, it will be argued that what is missing from these accounts is a discussion of Richard Sennett (2009) calls ‘the craft of play’ - where play inaugurates material practices of repetition, modulation, and consistency that are constitutive of craft labor. The article intends to explore the relevance of Sennett’s thesis to a sociological analysis of gaming, and uses ethnographic research on video gamers to unpack the ways that play becomes akin to craft labor. The study reveals that players get great satisfaction from negotiating the relationship between pleasure and rigorous practice and identifies that, for some, it has become a vocation, one which has called into question their pre-existing relationship to work and employment. The article concludes by suggesting that gaming is not simply an escape from reality but a way of re-appropriating the experiences of craft.

Smart toys? - on children’s access to connected play technologies and what it can entail

Ingrid Kjørstad, Ardis Storm-Mathisen

Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences, Norway

Internet of Things (IoT) – the ecosystem of smart applications and services where sensors are attached to devices so they can connect to the internet – is no longer only a reality in supply chains and control systems, but has spread to the common consumer market and into the world of children. A rather recent development is the introduction of a number of “smart toy” products on the market (i.e., with a chip, microphones, cameras, voice monitors, internet connection and apps). Sales of interactive dolls and robots are boosting and there is reason to believe such toys are to be found in many homes already and increasingly so in the years to come. Knowledge as to what this means are still scarce, but recent reports suggests there are serious security and privacy issues connected to these interactive “smart toys” (Consumer Ombudsman Norway 2016, Norwegian Data authorities 2016). The products can be used to eavesdrop and for customised marketing. Hence, users, and not the least children, can become vulnerable because of the information they are sharing and receiving through the product. This paper attends to the issue by discussing findings from a 2017 survey that set out to map the access of Norwegian children to “smart toys” and a follow-up case study that assessed the user risks connected to how various kinds of such products open up new types of direct and indirect contact between children and the internet.

Senior tourism: a tool for enhancing social inclusion, a form of symbolic consumption or a strategic choice for the profitability of tourism stakeholders?

Athina Nella

Hellenic Open University

As stated from the title, senior tourism can be seen from different perspectives, among which social policy, consumer behavior and marketing viewpoints. During the last decades there is considerable debate on the radical demographic changes taking place around the globe with ageing population being a critical issue for most European countries. These trends have already created severe impact on the nature of tourism demand and are shaping accordingly the future of tourism offerings.

Consequently, social scientists, tourism researchers and marketers are showing increasing interest for “senior or grey” tourists. Marketers and market strategists, on the one hand, put their emphasis on affluent tourists aged over 65 years old, as they combine both time and purchasing power available for leisure activities; in this case leisure can be as well viewed as a form of symbolic consumption. From another standpoint, economic hardship poses another view and questions regarding senior tourism: how can economically restrained seniors be benefited from social tourism programs?

A literature review of relevant published research is examined to identify aspects and trends concerning senior tourism. Occasions for escape, companionship, reminiscence, rest and relaxation, time with family can be important motives or “push” factors. Attributes such as weather and climate, beautiful scenery and attractions are among the “pull” factors. Regardless of the motives, tourism and social policy makers and tourism stakeholders as well need to understand the special needs, characteristics and tourism behavior of seniors in order to capitalize major demographic trends for the sake of individual wellbeing and social inclusion at large.

Leisure consumption in Iran, individualistic and collectivistic challenges

Hossein Mirzaei1, Saeedeh Amini2

1Institue for Social and Cultural Studies of MSRT & University of Tehran; 2University of Allame tabatabaei

Iran is a country in middle ground of individualism and collectivism. Family-oriented individualism is a defendable description of this society. We should explain that single individuality has not a considerable rise in Iran and family-oriented individualism is still justifiable. Leisure consumption is one the important dimensions of social life. The leisure and the way of spending it is an important subject. However the individualism is increasing in Iran and we could see this increase in different forms, but the researches indicate that only a quarter of population spend their leisure time alone, and more than half of Iranians spend it with their families. This research is going to study the type and style of leisure consumption in Iran during recent decade by using secondary analysis researches and survey method. It will explain leisure consumption In the light of theoretical approaches and possible explanations in this regard and reflect the silhouette of leisure consumption from the viewpoint of individualism and collectivism.

Key words: Leisure time, leisure consumption, life style, individualism, collectivism

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