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SapphoWilson

AT: Fiat is Illusory

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Being illusory isn't bad - in fact, without it, it'd be impossible to take the reality that exists in the mind of the Affirmative, the reality that exists in the mind of the Negative, and the reality that exists in the mind of the judge and synthesize them into a coherent field of imagination.

 

Either 1. it's good for the Affirmative to advocate political action in a deliberative space (you can impact this with education and advocacy skills) so the judge should vote Affirmative or 2. it's not productive to advocate within a deliberative space and their alternative collapses on itself because you can't affirm it without also affirming that it's useless to affirm it.

 

You could argue the "pretend" use of fiat is inevitable from other teams.

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just be like "obviously fiat is illusory - nobody believes that voting aff means Trump signs [x] piece of legislation, rather our argument is that deliberation over hypothetical scenarios is good because it fosters a host of portable skills." I imagine a good card to read here would be that Barma 16 card all the policy teams have.

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just be like "obviously fiat is illusory - nobody believes that voting aff means Trump signs [x] piece of legislation, rather our argument is that deliberation over hypothetical scenarios is good because it fosters a host of portable skills." I imagine a good card to read here would be that Barma 16 card all the policy teams have.

For anyone wondering, I think he means this.
 
Scenario analysis is pedagogically valuable – enhances creativity and self-reflexivity, deconstructs cognitive biases and flawed ontological assumptions, and enables the imagination and creation of alternative futures.
 
- Barma et al. 16 – (May 2016, [Advance Publication Online on 11/6/15], Naazneen Barma, PhD in Political Science from UC-Berkeley, Assistant Professor of National Security Affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School, Brent Durbin, PhD in Political Science from UC-Berkeley, Professor of Government at Smith College, Eric Lorber, JD from UPenn and PhD in Political Science from Duke, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, Rachel Whitlark, PhD in Political Science from GWU, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow with the Project on Managing the Atom and International Security Program within the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard, “‘Imagine a World in Which’: Using Scenarios in Political Science,” International Studies Perspectives 17 (2), pp. 1-19, http://www.naazneenbarma.com/uploads/2/9/6/9/29695681/using_scenarios_in_political_science_isp_2015.pdf) **FYI if anyone is skeptical of Barma’s affiliation with the Naval Postgraduate School, it’s worth looking at her publication history, which is deeply opposed to US hegemony and the existing liberal world order:
co-authored an article entitled “How Globalization Went Bad” that has this byline: “From terrorism to global warming, the evils of globalization are more dangerous than ever before. What went wrong? The world became dependent on a single superpower. Only by correcting this imbalance can the world become a safer place.” (http://cisac.fsi.stanford.edu/publications/how_globalization_went_bad)
most recent published scenario is entitled “World Without the West,” supports the a Non-Western reinvention of the liberal order, and concludes that “This argument made a lot of people uncomfortable, mostly because of an endemic and gross overestimation of the reach, depth and attractiveness of the existing liberal order” (http://nationalinterest.org/feature/welcome-the-world-without-the-west-11651)
Over the past decade, the “cult of irrelevance” in political science scholarship has been lamented by a growing chorus (Putnam 2003; Nye 2009; Walt 2009). Prominent scholars of international affairs have diagnosed the roots of the gap between academia and policymaking, made the case for why political science research is valuable for policymaking, and offered a number of ideas for enhancing the policy relevance of scholarship in international relations and comparative politics (Walt 2005,2011; Mead 2010; Van Evera 2010; Jentleson and Ratner 2011; Gallucci 2012; Avey and Desch 2014). Building on these insights, several initiatives have been formed in the attempt to “bridge the gap.”2 Many of the specific efforts put in place by these projects focus on providing scholars with the skills, platforms, and networks to better communicate the findings and implications of their research to the policymaking community, a necessary and worthwhile objective for a field in which theoretical debates, methodological training, and publishing norms tend more and more toward the abstract and esoteric.
Yet enhancing communication between scholars and policymakers is only one component of bridging the gap between international affairs theory and practice. Another crucial component of this bridge is the generation of substantive research programs that are actually policy relevant—a challenge to which less concerted attention has been paid. The dual challenges of bridging the gap are especially acute for graduate students, a particular irony since many enter the discipline with the explicit hope of informing policy. In a field that has an admirable devotion to pedagogical self-reflection, strikingly little attention is paid to techniques for generating policy-relevant ideas for dissertation and other research topics. Although numerous articles and conference workshops are devoted to the importance of experiential and problem-based learning, especially through techniques of simulation that emulate policymaking processes (Loggins 2009; Butcher 2012; Glasgow 2012; Rothman 2012; DiCicco 2014), little has been written about the use of such techniques for generating and developing innovative research ideas.
This article outlines an experiential and problem-based approach to developing a political science research program using scenario analysis. It focuses especially on illuminating the research generation and pedagogical benefits of this technique by describing the use of scenarios in the annual New Era Foreign Policy Conference (NEFPC), which brings together doctoral students of international and comparative affairs who share a demonstrated interest in policy-relevant scholarship.3 In the introductory section, the article outlines the practice of scenario analysis and considers the utility of the technique in political science. We argue that scenario analysis should be viewed as a tool to stimulate problem-based learning for doctoral students and discuss the broader scholarly benefits of using scenarios to help generate research ideas. The second section details the manner in which NEFPC deploys scenario analysis. The third section reflects upon some of the concrete scholarly benefits that have been realized from the scenario format. The fourth section offers insights on the pedagogical potential associated with using scenarios in the classroom across levels of study. A brief conclusion reflects on the importance of developing specific techniques to aid those who wish to generate political science scholarship of relevance to the policy world.
What Are Scenarios and Why Use Them in Political Science?
Scenario analysis is perceived most commonly as a technique for examining the robustness of strategy. It can immerse decision makers in future states that go beyond conventional extrapolations of current trends, preparing them to take advantage of unexpected opportunities and to protect themselves from adverse exogenous shocks. The global petroleum company Shell, a pioneer of the technique, characterizes scenario analysis as the art of considering “what if” questions about possible future worlds. Scenario analysis is thus typically seen as serving the purposes of corporate planning or as a policy tool to be used in combination with simulations of decision making. Yet scenario analysis is not inherently limited to these uses. This section provides a brief overview of the practice of scenario analysis and the motivations underpinning its uses. It then makes a case for the utility of the technique for political science scholarship and describes how the scenarios deployed at NEFPC were created.
The Art of Scenario Analysis
We characterize scenario analysis as the art of juxtaposing current trends in unexpected combinations in order to articulate surprising and yet plausible futures, often referred to as “alternative worlds.” Scenarios are thus explicitly not forecasts or projections based on linear extrapolations of contemporary patterns, and they are not hypothesis-based expert predictions. Nor should they be equated with simulations, which are best characterized as functional representations of real institutions or decision-making processes (Asal 2005). Instead, they are depictions of possible future states of the world, offered together with a narrative of the driving causal forces and potential exogenous shocks that could lead to those futures. Good scenarios thus rely on explicit causal propositions that, independent of one another, are plausible—yet, when combined, suggest surprising and sometimes controversial future worlds. For example, few predicted the dramatic fall in oil prices toward the end of 2014. Yet independent driving forces, such as the shale gas revolution in the United States, China’s slowing economic growth, and declining conflict in major Middle Eastern oil producers such as Libya, were all recognized secular trends that—combined with OPEC’s decision not to take concerted action as prices began to decline—came together in an unexpected way.
While scenario analysis played a role in war gaming and strategic planning during the Cold War, the real antecedents of the contemporary practice are found in corporate futures studies of the late 1960s and early 1970s (Raskin et al. 2005). Scenario analysis was essentially initiated at Royal Dutch Shell in 1965, with the realization that the usual forecasting techniques and models were not capturing the rapidly changing environment in which the company operated (Wack 1985; Schwartz 1991). In particular, it had become evident that straight-line extrapolations of past global trends were inadequate for anticipating the evolving business environment. Shell-style scenario planning “helped break the habit, ingrained in most corporate planning, of assuming that the future will look much like the present” (Wilkinson and Kupers 2013, 4). Using scenario thinking, Shell anticipated the possibility of two Arab-induced oil shocks in the 1970s and hence was able to position itself for major disruptions in the global petroleum sector.
Building on its corporate roots, scenario analysis has become a standard policymaking tool. For example, the Project on Forward Engagement advocates linking systematic foresight, which it defines as the disciplined analysis of alternative futures, to planning and feedback loops to better equip the United States to meet contemporary governance challenges (Fuerth 2011). Another prominent application of scenario thinking is found in the National Intelligence Council’s series of Global Trends reports, issued every four years to aid policymakers in anticipating and planning for future challenges. These reports present a handful of “alternative worlds” approximately twenty years into the future, carefully constructed on the basis of emerging global trends, risks, and opportunities, and intended to stimulate thinking about geopolitical change and its effects.4 As with corporate scenario analysis, the technique can be used in foreign policymaking for long-range general planning purposes as well as for anticipating and coping with more narrow and immediate challenges. An example of the latter is the German Marshall Fund’s EuroFutures project, which uses four scenarios to map the potential consequences of the Euro-area financial crisis (German Marshall Fund 2013).
Several features make scenario analysis particularly useful for policymaking.5 Long-term global trends across a number of different realms—social, technological, environmental, economic, and political—combine in often-unexpected ways to produce unforeseen challenges. Yet the ability of decision makers to imagine, let alone prepare for, discontinuities in the policy realm is constrained by their existing mental models and maps. This limitation is exacerbated by well-known cognitive bias tendencies such as groupthink and confirmation bias (Jervis 1976; Janis 1982; Tetlock 2005). The power of scenarios lies in their ability to help individuals break out of conventional modes of thinking and analysis by introducing unusual combinations of trends and deliberate discontinuities in narratives about the future. Imagining alternative future worlds through a structured analytical process enables policymakers to envision and thereby adapt to something altogether different from the known present.
Designing Scenarios for Political Science Inquiry
The characteristics of scenario analysis that commend its use to policymakers also make it well suited to helping political scientists generate and develop policy-relevant research programs. Scenarios are essentially textured, plausible, and relevant stories that help us imagine how the future political-economic world could be different from the past in a manner that highlights policy challenges and opportunities. For example, terrorist organizations are a known threat that have captured the attention of the policy community, yet our responses to them tend to be linear and reactive. Scenarios that explore how seemingly unrelated vectors of change—the rise of a new peer competitor in the East that diverts strategic attention, volatile commodity prices that empower and disempower various state and nonstate actors in surprising ways, and the destabilizing effects of climate change or infectious disease pandemics—can be useful for illuminating the nature and limits of the terrorist threat in ways that may be missed by a narrower focus on recognized states and groups. By illuminating the potential strategic significance of specific and yet poorly understood opportunities and threats, scenario analysis helps to identify crucial gaps in our collective understanding of global politicaleconomic trends and dynamics. The notion of “exogeneity”—so prevalent in social science scholarship—applies to models of reality, not to reality itself. Very simply, scenario analysis can throw into sharp relief often-overlooked yet pressing questions in international affairs that demand focused investigation.
Scenarios thus offer, in principle, an innovative tool for developing a political science research agenda. In practice, achieving this objective requires careful tailoring of the approach. The specific scenario analysis technique we outline below was designed and refined to provide a structured experiential process for generating problem-based research questions with contemporary international policy relevance.6 The first step in the process of creating the scenario set described here was to identify important causal forces in contemporary global affairs. Consensus was not the goal; on the contrary, some of these causal statements represented competing theories about global change (e.g., a resurgence of the nation-state vs. border-evading globalizing forces). A major principle underpinning the transformation of these causal drivers into possible future worlds was to “simplify, then exaggerate” them, before fleshing out the emerging story with more details.7 Thus, the contours of the future world were drawn first in the scenario, with details about the possible pathways to that point filled in second. It is entirely possible, indeed probable, that some of the causal claims that turned into parts of scenarios were exaggerated so much as to be implausible, and that an unavoidable degree of bias or our own form of groupthink went into construction of the scenarios. One of the great strengths of scenario analysis, however, is that the scenario discussions themselves, as described below, lay bare these especially implausible claims and systematic biases.8
An explicit methodological approach underlies the written scenarios themselves as well as the analytical process around them—that of case-centered, structured, focused comparison, intended especially to shed light on new causal mechanisms (George and Bennett 2005). The use of scenarios is similar to counterfactual analysis in that it modifies certain variables in a given situation in order to analyze the resulting effects (Fearon 1991). Whereas counterfactuals are traditionally retrospective in nature and explore events that did not actually occur in the context of known history, our scenarios are deliberately forward-looking and are designed to explore potential futures that could unfold. As such, counterfactual analysis is especially well suited to identifying how individual events might expand or shift the “funnel of choices” available to political actors and thus lead to different historical outcomes (Nye 2005, 68–69), while forward-looking scenario analysis can better illuminate surprising intersections and sociopolitical dynamics without the perceptual constraints imposed by fine-grained historical knowledge. We see scenarios as a complementary resource for exploring these dynamics in international affairs, rather than as a replacement for counterfactual analysis, historical case studies, or other methodological tools.
In the scenario process developed for NEFPC, three distinct scenarios are employed, acting as cases for analytical comparison. Each scenario, as detailed below, includes a set of explicit “driving forces” which represent hypotheses about causal mechanisms worth investigating in evolving international affairs. The scenario analysis process itself employs templates (discussed further below) to serve as a graphical representation of a structured, focused investigation and thereby as the research tool for conducting case-centered comparative analysis (George and Bennett 2005). In essence, these templates articulate key observable implications within the alternative worlds of the scenarios and serve as a framework for capturing the data that emerge (King, Keohane, and Verba 1994). Finally, this structured, focused comparison serves as the basis for the cross-case session emerging from the scenario analysis that leads directly to the articulation of new research agendas.
The scenario process described here has thus been carefully designed to offer some guidance to policy-oriented graduate students who are otherwise left to the relatively unstructured norms by which political science dissertation ideas are typically developed. The initial articulation of a dissertation project is generally an idiosyncratic and personal undertaking (Useem 1997; Rothman 2008), whereby students might choose topics based on their coursework, their own previous policy exposure, or the topics studied by their advisors. Research agendas are thus typically developed by looking for “puzzles” in existing research programs (Kuhn 1996). Doctoral students also, understandably, often choose topics that are particularly amenable to garnering research funding. Conventional grant programs typically base their funding priorities on extrapolations from what has been important in the recent past—leading to, for example, the prevalence of Japan and Soviet studies in the mid-1980s or terrorism studies in the 2000s—in the absence of any alternative method for identifying questions of likely future significance.
The scenario approach to generating research ideas is grounded in the belief that these traditional approaches can be complemented by identifying questions likely to be of great empirical importance in the real world, even if these do not appear as puzzles in existing research programs or as clear extrapolations from past events. The scenarios analyzed at NEFPC envision alternative worlds that could develop in the medium (five to seven year) term and are designed to tease out issues scholars and policymakers may encounter in the relatively near future so that they can begin thinking critically about them now. This timeframe offers a period distant enough from the present as to avoid falling into current events analysis, but not so far into the future as to seem like science fiction. In imagining the worlds in which these scenarios might come to pass, participants learn strategies for avoiding failures of creativity and for overturning the assumptions that prevent scholars and analysts from anticipating and understanding the pivotal junctures that arise in international affairs.
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Here's some other cards --   Fiat’s purpose is to test beliefs and pose questions in a hypothetical space.

Goodman ‘95 – Professor Emeritus, School of Education, University of Michigan (Frederick L., “Practice in Theory,” Simulation and Gaming, June, 184-185, http://sag.sagepub.com.proxy.lib.umich.edu/content/26/2/178.full.pdf)

Simulation Games Those who deal with simulations continue to focus attention on the pressing question of verisimilitude ("the quality of appearing to be true or real" according to the American Heritage Dictionary). Consider the case of the University of Michigan's Interactive Communications & Simulations (ICS) computer-conference-based Arab-Israeli Conflict simulation that has, for a decade, connected secondary school students around the world to play the roles of five major political leaders in each of a dozen or so countries involved in this struggle in the Middle East. While a teaching assistant in 1974, Edgar Taylor initiated the Arab-Israeli Conflict exercise in a political science course at the University of Michigan. Leonard Suransky arrived at Michigan shortly thereafter and worked closely with Edgar on the development of the university version of the game. Edgar also worked with Bob Parnes, who in the latter half of the 1970s was designing CONFER, the computer-conferencing system that allowed us to extend the Arab-Israeli Conflict simulation to secondary schools around the world. Bob by then was also a veteran gamer, having worked very closely with me on the development of MARBLES. In the ICS, college students serve as mentors to the younger students to see to it that they, while playing their characters, stay in role with as much integrity as possible. No single economic or political theory lies at the heart of the exercise; there is no model that drives the game and determines the consequences of the players' actions. The college student mentors meet in weekly seminars to hammer out the advice they might give to the participants to keep their performance in line with anything that they know about that age-old conflict. It is, of course, still practice in theory because no one can be sure that what the students are doing would actually match with the world outside the game. However, because the actions taken and the consequences of those actions within the exercise are actively negotiated between the players and the mentors, the tentative and theoretical nature of the entire undertaking is conspicuous to the participants—whereas the action is de- tailed, exciting and absorbing. That, I submit, is an important step in the right direction. If one is going to build a simulation game around a model, in other words, around a specific theory, then the burden falls squarely on the designer to vouch for the validity of the theory. As economists and political scientists get better and better at modeling slices of their worlds, we may expect better and better games based on these models to appear. In the meantime, another approach may be taken. Simulation games can be turned around in the sense that participants can be switched from the role of players to the role of designers. This was the approach used in the line of the POLICY NEGOTIATIONS games that were developed at Michigan and elsewhere and in the extension of POLICY NEGOTIATIONS known as THE FLOATING CRAP GAME (Goodman, 1981). When this is done, the connections that the participants claim to see between various parts of the world that they themselves are modeling are rendered explicit for review, discussion, and revision. There is little reason to believe that actions that people take while playing such games would be the ones they would take or recommend taking in the real world. Neverthe-less, if people are designing a game with an eye to expressing their best generalizations about something, formulating rules that purport to capture the essence of some phenomenon as they have come to understand it, there are good reasons to believe they are behaving in a way that they would behave outside the context of the game. Put another way, they are practicing making theoretical statements; they are engaging in practice in theory. This twist on the meaning of the phrase "practice in theory" is discussed further in the next section. 

 

 

Fiat isn’t real but that doesn’t mean it isn’t useful--our form of experimental geopolitics through fiat is able to actualize new geopolitical presents and create emergent effects within interstate systems.

Dittmer 15 (Jason, 2015; Professor of Political Geography, University College London; Editorial Board Member: Political Geography; Professional Geographer; The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship;  Turkish Journal of Human Geography; author of Captain America and the Nationalist Superhero: Metaphors, Narratives, and Geopolitics (Temple University Press, 2013) and Popular Culture, Geopolitics, and Identity (Rowman and Littlefield, 2010); editor (or co-editor) of Geopolitics: An Introductory Reader (Routledge, 2014), the Ashgate Research Companion to Media Geography (Ashgate, 2014), Comic Book Geographies (Franz Steiner, 2014), and Mapping the End Times: American Evangelical Geopolitics and Apocalyptic Visions (Ashgate, 2010); “Playing geopolitics: utopian simulations and subversions of international relations,” GeoJournal, Volume 80, Issue 6 , pp 909-923) *gender modified*

Considering geopolitics in a world of becoming directs our attention to the way geopolitical spaces— such as games—are immanent and ultimately temporary: ‘‘[T]hough any species, thing, system, or civilization may last for a long time, nothing lasts forever. Each force-field (set in the chrono-time appropriate to it) oscillates between periods of relative arrest and those of and those of heightened imbalance and change, followed again by new stabilizations,’’ (Connolly 2010, 44). In such a world view, the geopolitical ‘present’ is produced out of the intersection of a range of temporal force-fields: e.g., the cycles of capitalist accumulation and crisis (Taylor 1996), the emergence of new technologies like Twitter (Pinkerton et al. 2011) the breakdown of a long-time dictator’s health (Masoud 2011), the tinting of an individual’s political perception by affect-imbued memory of past events. One of the many ways in which the present emerges out of the collision of both past and future is through play. Play and politics ‘Play’ is a deceptively simple term. Perhaps associated first with frivolity and childhood, the term broadens when we consider play in the animal world. In evolutionary theory, play contributes to the development of animal behavior and physiology, as well as the maintenance of cognitive and emotional stability. ‘‘Social play is not easily summarized, but play fighting, chasing, and wrestling are the major types recorded and occur in almost every group of animals in which play is found,’’ (Burghardt 2005, 382). It is clear that play is future-oriented, preparing bodies for future action and encoding new pathways between muscles, the brain, and the nervous system. In other words, play encodes the future into our corporeal selves, shaping not only our responses but our field of sensibilities. Equally, such play is done in anticipation of the future need for such responses and sensibilities. Anderson and Adey (2011, 1093) make exactly this point for humans in their discussion of disaster simulations in the UK, in which governmental actors play themselves in fantasy scenarios: ‘‘conditions of response are made present through the composition of particular atmospheres and sensibilities. And it is by making those conditions present affectively that the exercise can function as a technique of equivalence, allowing future events to be rendered governable.’’ Past play enables present action through embodied memory, enhancing capabilities for action (and arguably limiting capabilities for other kinds of action); the future is similarly brought into the present as an anticipatory impetus for training and action. Play emerges through the collision of these temporalities. It is important to note that in the above I am privileging a particular understanding of play, which can be critiqued as functionalist. As Tara Woodyer notes in her excellent review of ludic geographies (2012), there is a spectrum of play, from the improvisational and unstructured (paidia) to the formal and structured (ludus). When play is formalized through competition and rules, it becomes a game, and games have been observed to limit the amount of experimentation vis-a´-vis improvisation (Katz 2004), and therefore might be understand as enforcing social roles and orthodoxy. Games are a popular metaphor for social processes because, like society, there are rules that shape behavior and outcomes. For example, the association of American football with discourses and physical capabilities associated with war, and the related relegation of girls to the sidelines as cheerleaders representing the home front, has been criticized as the reproduction of social roles perpetuating the gendered national security state (Gagen 2004). However, as this research will show, highly-coded games are nonetheless spaces of improvisation. As Woodyer (2012, 318) puts it, ‘‘Playing works through aspects of the mimicked activities that are somewhat mysterious; identities, social relationships and sociomaterial practices are played with as details are tweaked or wildly (re)imagined.’’ Therefore, I would argue that the paidia/ludus spectrum is misleading in that it generalizes about types of play (e.g., tic-tac-toe games are ludic while fantasy role playing games tend toward paidia) rather than recognizing that individual enactments of a game can fall at various points on the spectrum. It is my contention that the specifics of games matter, not only in which game is played, but in how individual games unfold. Each game is necessarily its own unique assemblage of game, context, and players. Each game is thus also its own world, which necessarily has a spatial dimension. Game spaces have been referred to elsewhere as the ‘magic circle’ (Klabbers 2009). Entering the magic circle entails a crossingover from one world to the next, with its own rules, morality, and so on. Nevertheless, the magic circle is at best leaky and at worst nearly impossible to spot as you cross it (Castronova 2005). Games are experimental spaces set apart from, and yet folded into, our everyday world. Ingram (2012) conceptualizes experimental geopolitics as occurring through four elements: staging, play, modulation, and effects. ‘Staging’ refers to the preparation of the game or, in Deleuzean terms, the coding of the assemblage. As the term ‘staging’ implies, this coding is always spatial, providing space for performance. ‘Play’ refers here to the simulation’s enactment. ‘Modulation’ is the ongoing process of re-coding undertaken during the simulation, reminding us that these assemblage spaces are intentionally created, and may or may not be allowed to deviate from expectations. Finally, Ingram identifies the emergent ‘effects’ of the assemblage as systemic output. It is these that re-shape the simulation but also ripple out into tangential worlds (like ‘ours’). These effects can be regressive or progressive, or neither. Therefore, it is important to recognize that games are crucial sites of the political. A game can be highly structured and yet an individual enactment of it can be unexpected in its outcome, or in the style of play within the rules. Such deviance can be explicitly political in its intent, but it is far more likely to be tacitly political and driven by a carnival-like pleasure in improvisation and unbounded vitalism. Play then is not just about participating in games, but it is a way of participating in games, or work, or conversations, or anything at all. ‘‘In this sense, the proximity of play is self-perpetuating as the vitality emerging from it encourages one to be more responsive to others,’’ (Woodyer 2012, 319). As an everyday sensibility that can be carried over into various spheres of life, play is more political than simple resistance to rules and social norms. Summing up Experimental geopolitics and the ‘magic circle’ of games/simulations both represent spaces that are set aside from, and yet are fully part of, ‘our’ world (Shaw and Warf 2009). Each experiment or game is an assemblage that, when actualized, produces emergent effects (DeLanda 2006; Cudworth and Hobden 2011). While these gameworlds are virtual, they nevertheless produce actual effects through embodiment in habit and experience, which can be drawn upon in future political rationalities (Connolly 2002). This focus on embodied action can be juxtaposed with MacDonald’s (2008, 623), argument that ‘‘playing at or with war is a constituent part of warfare itself.’’ In other words, the emergent effect of ‘the inter-state system’ is as much the result of people playing at diplomacy and geopolitics as it is the stuff of tanks, ambassadors, and passports. Given the inability of realist IR theory and neoclassical geopolitics to account for the complexity and interconnection of social systems in our world (Cudworth and Hobden 2011), it is worth imagining a whole swath of games that purport to mimic the world of geopolitics and IR as utopian in that their coding, algorithms, and ludic structures produce spaces in which reductionist notions of geopolitics and IR can unfold without the messy complexity of real life. Using games as a proving ground for neoclassical geopolitics and realist IR theory hardly segregates the ideas from people’s geopolitical imaginations and perceptions. Rather, gamers shuttle between these worlds, learning the algorithms that are the key to game success with the possibility of applying them in ‘real’ political contexts: As the player proceeds through the game, s/he [They] gradually discovers the rules that operate in the universe constructed by this game. S/he [They] learns its hidden logic, in short its algorithm. Therefore, in games where the play departs from following an algorithm, the player is still engaged with an algorithm, albeit in another way: s/he [They] is discovering the algorithm of the game itself. (Manovich 1999, 83) Thus, the coding of neoclassical geopolitics and realist IR into games risks both the seeming confirmation of ‘real world’ geopolitical and IR theories through their transposition to utopian game spaces, and also the reimportation of those theories back into ‘our’ world. Luckily, the gaming experience is not limited to what is coded. Considering the body as a component of the gaming assemblage opens up possibilities whereby the singularity of the game-as-type fragments into a multiplicity of games-as-played (Massumi 2002). After all, a game without players is a dead thing, unworthy of attention. Only when it is infused with players’ vitality does the assemblage come alive, with people and objects (e.g., chess boards and pieces, videogames and consoles) co-constituting the emergent effect of ‘the game’. This provides hope that this excess play provides room for critical engagement with neoclassical geopolitics and realist IR theory. Methodology This research contributes to new methodologies through which everyday geopolitics can be analyzed, elsewhere referred to as ‘popular geopolitics 2.0’ (Dittmer and Gray 2010). This complicates top-down accounts of geopolitics that diminish both political possibilities and the agency of everyday people and things. This research holds that games are assemblages with agency, intervening in the world through their very existence. That agency is emergent and coconstituted through the interactions of rules, material objects (such as game pieces or computer code), and players. Understanding the intertwining of these agencies requires methods that approach the complexity of assemblage organization. Recent work in political geography incorporates more ethnographic methods, especially participant observation and interviews (Megoran 2006; Pain and Smith 2008; Kuus 2011). Applying these methods in the university setting (Mu¨ller 2011) is useful for understanding how theories are enacted (and thus reworked) in an organized effort to produce geopolitical subjects.

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