Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Liberal Studies


Linda Martín Alcoff

Subject Categories

Africana Studies | Arabic Language and Literature | Cultural History | History of Religion | Philosophy | Sports Studies


Play Theory, Play, Lacrosse, Exemplfiication, Livability, Symbol


From the beginning, people are introduced to many different attempts at engaging with various “cultures”, and of course, are born into their own. The extant literature of various fields in the social sciences have afforded us the realization that no one culture holds neither moral ground nor blueprint for how to be a culture, as our own culture is one of many, all a part of the world. Yet, because of the way our culture specifies how we are to engage and live, we tend towards the assumption that our culture has monopoly on the definition of culture. The following thesis seeks to engage with this tendency. The thesis argues that a theory of play grounds the understanding of culture. The plays from culture symbolic exemplify aspects from that culture towards any engaged people that act as the catalyst for understanding. Three case studies detailing three accounts of plays will be used to explain why it is through a theory of play that an establishing of new conditions of possibility extends a culture’s existence and how people forge an agency out of local and intracultural narratives. This thesis theorizes the plays from dominated cultures are activities which symbolically exemplify persistence in the face of the plays from dominant cultures, as I further theorize of play as a normative theory of agency and culture.