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The Study of Play (April 2019): Beyond the Disciplinary

By Charles Kroncke and Ronald F. White

Beyond the Disciplinary

Though playtime research has been dominated by discipline-specific scholars, trained primarily in the social sciences, there is now widespread agreement that discipline-specific research via multiple, cloistered disciplines is problematic. New interdisciplinary genres have emerged that blend the findings of multiple disciplines around various topics. Today, interdisciplinarity has produced exciting new areas of research, bringing together scholars willing to venture outside of their respective disciplines in order to address problem areas.

The literature on playtime scholarship mirrors this gradual movement from disciplinary to interdisciplinary research. Although most of the early discipline-specific research was written by individual social scientists, the literature has expanded significantly with the addition of other specialized disciplines, particularly history, psychology (including evolutionary psychology), political economy, and philosophy. The sections that follow look at the literature on play that emanates from these particular disciplines.