For those with an interest in big ideas, these trading cards from Theory.org should fire up your neurotransmitters.
Between 2000-2001, a set of twelve trading cards was released monthly via David Gauntlett’s website Theory.org. This original set of cards featured theorists (and their concepts) from the world of social and cultural theory, gender and identity, and media studies. The first out of the pack was British social theorist Anthony Giddens who devised the theory of structuration and wrote the book on The Third Way. This was followed by theorist Judith Butler whose book Gender Trouble argued that “biological” sexes were just as much as a social construct as gender. Then came the great controversial French thinker Michel Foucault with his ideas about sexuality, gender and power structures. The deck included some interesting choices like artists Tracey Emin, Gilbert & George and concepts like Postmodernity and Psychoanalysis.
This official set of twelve trading cards was thought by some to lack a few key players and its release inspired various academics, students and alike to produce their own cards. These additions included Karl Marx, Carl Jung, Simone de Beauvoir, Edward Said, Germaine Greer, Walter Benjamin and Marcel Duchamp.
Described as “Creative knowledge you can put your pocket™” these cards can be used to play a game of trumps—in which players can match strengths, weaknesses and special skills. For example, Foucault’s special skill of happily rejecting old models and creating new ones, might not quite beat Duchamp’s ability to confuse the hell out of everyone.
The full set is below—but if you want to own a set of these super brainy trading cards (and who wouldn’t?) then deal yourself in by clicking here.
#1 Anthony Giddens—British social theorist.
#2 Judith Butler—American philosopher and gender theorist.
#3 Michel Foucault—French philosopher, theorist, philologist and literary critic.
#6 Erving Gofffman—American/Canadian sociologist and writer.
#7 Theodor Ardorno—German philosopher, sociologist and composer.
#9 Tracey Emin—British artist.
#10 Gilbert & George—Italian/British artists.
#11—bell hooks (aka Gloria Jean Watkins)—African-American author, feminist and social activist.
#13 Henri Lefebvre—Marxist philosopher and sociologist.
Unofficial Card #13: Edward Said—philosopher and writer. (Made by Jacob Ramsay of Australian National University to illustrate a lecture on Said.)
Unofficial Card #14: Pierre et Gilles—French artists/photographers. (Made by Yvonne Aburrow of the University of Bath.)
Unofficial Card #15: Girl Power. (Made by Sophie of Amsterdam.)
Unofficial Card #16: Deleuze and Guattari.—French philosopher and psychiatrist and social activist. (Made by Robert Schachel of University of Florida.)
Unofficial Card #17: Jacques Lacan—French psychoanalyst and psychiatrist. (Made by Josh G in Providence, Rhode Island.)
Unofficial Card #18: Marcel Duchamp—French-American artist. (Made by John Gehron.)
Unofficial Card #19: Carl Jung—Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst. (Made by John Gehron.)
Unofficial Card #20: Simone de Beauvoir—French writer, existentialist philosopher, political activist, feminist and social theorist. Made by John Gehron.
Unofficial Card #21: Heinz Kohut—Austrian-American psychoanalyst. (Made by John Gehron and Theory.org.)
Unofficial Card #22: Plastic. (Made by ‘Snarkism’, Australia.)
Unofficial Card #23: Valerie Walkerdine—gender theorist, social psychologist and writer. (Made by Yvonne Aburrow of the University of Bath.)
Unofficial Card #24: Ulrich Beck—German sociologist. (Made by Sophie of Amsterdam.)
Unofficial Card #25: Karl Marx—German philosopher, economist, sociologist, journalist, and revolutionary socialist. (Made by Kevin Lande.)
Unofficial Card #26: Auguste Comte—French philosopher and founder of sociology. (Made by Kevin Lande.)
Unofficial Card #27: Germaine Greer—Australian writer and feminist. (Made by Kylie Robinson of Leeds, UK.)
Unofficial Card #28: W. E. B. DuBois--American sociologist, historian, civil rights activist, Pan-Africanist, author, and editor. (Made by Kevin Lande.)
Unofficial Card #29: Julie Burchill—English writer and journalist. (Made by Tara Moneytooth.)
Unofficial Card #30: Max Weber—German sociologist, philosopher, jurist, and political economist. (Made by Kevin Lande.)
Unofficial Card #31: Walter Benjamin—German Jewish philosopher and cultural critic. (Made by Fabian Thomas.)
Unofficial Card #32: Niklas Luhmann—German sociologist and writer. (Made by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, München.)