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Tracés: Revue de Sciences Humaines publishes research in the social sciences in two themed issues per year and a handful of special editions. These issues focus on an old debate that has taken a new turn due to current editorial or political circumstances, takes an idea that the various intellectual traditions and disciplines would usually address in isolation and submits it to examination from multiple perspectives, or explores an emerging field of thought. Tracés claims a true pluralism, as attested to by the variety of themes and approaches it publishes. The journal’s editorial committee is made up of young researchers from various disciplines and pursues a strong interdisciplinary project. This is manifested in the selection of articles, notes, translations, and interviews that make up each of the issues.

Latest issue
Matières à jouer

Decks of cards, video game consoles or dolls are examples of how often play relies on a material basis. However, play has long been conceptualized without considering its relation to materiality, focusing instead on rules, imaginary worlds or narratives. Yet there is today a renewed interest in material and sensitive approaches to play, which this issue of Tracés contributes to.

Welcoming diverse approaches and fields of enquiry to tackle the role of materiality, this issue explores this complex notion and the limits of its heuristic value. The articles highlight how the material aspects of play embody various values, and testify to the way various material modes and symbolic dimensions can co-exist in one game. Insofar as materiality interacts and completes formalized rule systems, certain classical analyses of games can be examined in a new light. The contributions also show how materiality plays a decisive role in the players’ involvement in the game, participates in the play experience and contributes to creating and maintaining a social contract among players.

This issue of Tracés shows the relevance of an exploration of aspects of play that may not seem essential to the functioning of game itself, but which can guide or affect its fundamental premises. More generally, a focus on materiality prompts us to rethink the boundaries of play, whether temporal, spatial or socially situated, and to value aspects that are usually little considered by players and scholars alike.