Disruptive Play: The Trickster in Politics and Culture journeys from ancient folkloric appearances of Tricksters such as Raven and Èṣù-Elegba, to their confined role in Western civilization, and then on to Trickster’s 20th century jailbreak as led by dada and the hippies. Disruptive Play bears witness to how this spirit informs social progress today, whether by Anonymous, Banksy, Bugs Bunny, or unrevealed mischief-makers and culture jammers. Such play is revolutionary and lights the path to a transformed society.
Disruptive Play connects knowledge from mythology, folklore, popular culture, art, politics, and play theory to make its case: that to be playful means not taking power seriously. At critical mass, power collapses and leaves us swimming about in the waters of the amoral Trickster. New values emerge and could lead to some version of the dystopia that currently drenches popular culture. Or, if people can discern between the authentic contact and exhilaration of play, and branded, mediated, alienated pleasure, then we just might stumble and frolic our way to the Play Society.
Dr. Shepherd Siegel is a writer, a rock and jazz musician, and educator, earning degrees at UC Santa Cruz and San Francisco State University, and his doctorate at UC Berkeley. He has over thirty publications, including Career Ladders, and has won numerous awards. He led Career and Technical Education for Seattle Public Schools for sixteen years. He returned to his countercultural roots to write Disruptive Play and spread its message of playfulness and progressive change.