Toys as enablers for self-producing social systems: Experienced pleasure within play


Publication date


Series/Report no

Procedia Manufacturing;3



Document type


Some games and toys seems to endure, develop and split into new games and toys, and further engage in their sub-forms. Football is one example, which is a game that has spread around the world, and been hybridized by culture and individual influence (Giulianotti, 2000; J. Tangen, 2004). Thus, there is something about games like football worth analyzing within the research on pleasure and pleasurable products. This paper aims to disclose and define systems of expectations particular to games, specifically football, in order to find general properties in games that engender feelings of pleasure, which can be infused in the designing of other games and toys. The turning points for the discussion in this article are the pleasurable dimensions within games (i. e., football) and pleasure in play in general. The aim of this research was to disclose the aspects of football related to pleasure by way of a theoretical analysis of the framework of autopoietic or self-producing social systems of interaction, a term coined by Niklas Luhmann, and play. This study shows that the intersection between the unknown and expectation seems to form a potential for new experiences that elicit flow, challenges and pleasure. This results in contexts that enable numerous possible behaviors as a result of emerging social sub-systems generated by a central system. Based on the findings, this study suggests that when designing toys it might be beneficial to create a basis for play, which consists of a complex system that includes play-space, rules, variability of use and strategy in which the users themselves can expand, build and alter. This study reflects implications for toy designers to utilize the dimensions of pleasure engendered by the analysis of football in light of autopoiesis.



© 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (

Permanent URL (for citation purposes)