par Povoas, Ana
Référence Colloque Jeux & Enjeux 2019 (2019-05-13: Marseille)
Publication Non publié, 2019-10-01
Communication à un colloque
Résumé : This paper is part of a research project whose mission is to explore the contribution of serious games to the co-construction of just regions and cities, expanding on previous work on spatial justice (Lévy, Fauchille, Póvoas, 2018). Serious games are here defined as settings whose purpose is not primarily to entertain but to scaffold players simulated and iterative actions in low risk collective environments, orienting active play to the exploration of societal problems (Abt, 1970).This project approaches the co-construction of just spatial development by framing the conception and the use of games within a reinterpretation of the social contract of Hobbes, Rousseau and Rawls as a procedural device that operates in concrete social life, with regard to substantive topics. My hypothesis is that serious games can be instrumental in this finality, instituting citizens as full actors in the fabrication of public policy decisions towards more just geographies. This paper makes a contribution – through the angle of interactive democracy (Lévy, 2019) – to the ongoing debate that seeks to connect serious games and the fabrication of political objects. Combining deliberative and consultative activities to complement, rather than oppose, representative democracy, the concept and practices of interactive democracy propose interfaces and continuous communication channels between the political society (citizens, associations, etc.) and the political sphere. This paradigm lies on the principle that ordinary citizens can combine freedom of proposition with responsibility in dialogue and in co-decision and brings to the fore the role of mediation.After introducing the background of this research, this paper will advance two complementary contributions. Firstly, I will briefly review the history of serious games, sketching the process of incremental complexity through which the potential of games for mediation has unfolded in the last six decades. From an urban perspective, we can identify four stages in the evolution of game design and use from a socio-technical focus to increasingly politicized pragmatics (Mayer, 2009; Fainstein, 2010). I) 1940-50’s ‘systems planning’: rigid games resorted to mathematics and formal modelling to rationalise public decision, underpinned by the concept of self-interest. II) 1960-70’s technocratic criticism: ‘free form games’, human-centred and responsive to sociopolitical complexity, allowed for in-game transformation of gaming elements by players. III) 1980-90’s ‘communicative planning’: as positivism dominance discredited stage II; real, rather than simulated, deliberative contexts took the lead. IV) 2000’s – interdisciplinarity: integrating social theory’s actor turn, games research spans from design to computational science, often combining digital simulation and analogue elements to explore desirable urban futures (Post-car, 2018; Tan, 2014).Secondly, I will portray the state-of-the-art of game ‘civic innovation’ and identify scope for further research. My argument is that existing experiments address meaningfulness and impact of participation via playful citizen engagement (Poplin, 2011; Gordon, Baldwin-Philippi, 2014; Thiel et al., 2016) by focusing (almost) exclusively on process dimensions of decision-making. While exploring games’ affordances for empathy, knowledge expansion and integration of others’ perspectives (Gordon, Haas, Michelson, 2017) – which are important deontological filters in the formation of ethical judgement and behaviour (Póvoas, 2016) – they tend to neglect explicit ethical valuations which take place during game play sessions, including in game restitution and debriefing stages. Creativity and newness are thus attributed legitimising force, while political argument within the content of game interactions receives little attention. I interpret this lacuna in light of political philosophy traditional opposition of liberal/procedural vs normative/substantive. Yet, recent theory on justice (Sen, 2010) and spatial justice (Lévy, Fauchille, Póvoas, 2018) has shown that it is possible to bring together both procedural and substantial facets of justice. In this line of thought, I will propose concepts of spatial justice theory that can be integrated into game design to support the explicit enunciation of the different conceptions of desirability which are often at stake when citizens discuss about a specific urban project, the demands of a social movement or a territorial policy. The objective is not to generalise game content into a higher order of abstraction. My proposition is that by liaising explicit values with the detailed working out of a concrete vision citizen can construe the convergence between their originally different perspectives.