This article introduces the concepts of play and playfulness within the context of legal philosophical education. I argue that integrating play and playfulness in legal education engages students and prepares them for dealing with the perpetual uncertainty of late modernity that they will face as future legal professionals. This article, therefore, aims to outline the first contours of a useful concept of play and playfulness in legal education. Drawing on the work of leading play theorists Huizinga, Caillois, Lieberman, and Csikszentmihalyi, play within legal education can be described as a (1) partly voluntary activity that (2) enables achievement of learning goals, (3) is consciously separate from everyday life by rules and/or make-believe, (4) has its own boundaries in time and space, (5) entails possibility, tension, and uncertainty, and (6) promotes the formation of social grouping. Playfulness is a lighthearted state of mind associated with curiosity, creativity, spontaneity, and humor. Being playful also entails being able to cope with uncertainty. The integration of these concepts of play and playfulness in courses on jurisprudence will be illustrated by the detailed description of three play and playful activities integrated into the course ‘Introduction to Legal Philosophy’ at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.
Bibliographical noteSpecial Issue on Active Learning and Teaching in Legal Education
- legal education
- legal philosophy
- student engagement