week 1: third places, plabor & bricolage

Reading assigned:

Reading guide + reflection:

  • What is a “third place” and what does it have to do with ritual?

A third place is a space where people come together with the purpose of playful communication, where they can lead social lives in an informal setting, outside of their work or their home or any other kind of permanent structure. It is interesting to think of Facebook as a third place. If you sign into Facebook while sitting at a bar, are you in two third places at once? Does one just become a container for the other? Ritual is necessary for the meaning-making process of digital third places. It is a kind of means to an end - the end being a sense of belonging. It’s possible that digital third places require a much more dedicated ritual practice because of the intagibility and invisibility of others and the self.

  • Do you agree with the idea that “if people take something as real, it is real in its consequences”?

I’m having a hard time finding a reason to not agree with this. We are almost always acting based on our perceptions of a situation or in regards to our own beliefs. Regardless of how far our perception is from reality the actions we take based on that perception becomes a part of reality itself. In regards to the Burroughs reading I’m not sure what the consequences of Facebook users who believe they are taking part in something “real” are. Of course there are situations where Facebook user’s act out in their physical reality in response to something that happened within the social realm of Facebook but I think more people perceive, respond, and act all within Facebook itself, apart from the reality of their physical world. Whether or not this matters I’m not sure but I am interested in where the Facebook ritual loop breaks out into each user’s personal and physical reality.

  • Is the idea of “plabor” applicable outside the realm of digital games?


  • Do you agree with Altglas’ characterizations of spiritual bricolage and exoticism? Can you think of examples that Altglas doesn’t mention?

Altglas’ characterizations ring true. Acknowledgement of globalization and exoticism are key examining to modern examples of bricolage and “spirituality”. It would be wrong to separate what feels like a western obsession with self-actualization and spirituality from historical examples of defining and fetishizing otherness or removal of a cultural context.

  • What “rituals” do you perform with your electronic devices? I tend to my desktop and the folders in my root directory as if they were a garden. I weed them and add files to folders to help them grow.

Sometimes I meditate with my phone lol.