Ethnographies of the Videogame uses the medium of the videogame to explore wider significant sociological issues around new media, interaction, identity, performance, memory and mediation. Addressing questions of how we interpret, mediate and use media texts, particularly in the face of claims about the power of new media to continuously shift the parameters of lived experience, gaming is employed as a 'tool' through which we can understand the gendered and socio-culturally constructed phenomenon of our everyday engagement with media. The book is particularly concerned with issues of agency and power, identifying strong correlations between perceptions of gaming and actual gaming practices, as well as the reinforcement, through gaming, of established (gendered, sexed, and classed) power relationships within households. As such, it reveals the manner in which existing relations re-emerge through engagement with new technology. Offering an empirically grounded understanding of what goes on when we mediate technology and media in our everyday lives Ethnographies of the Videogame is more than a timely intervention into game studies. It provides pertinent and reflexive commentary on the relationship between text and audience, highlighting the relationships of gender and power in gaming practice. As such, it will appeal to scholars interested in media and new media, gender and class, and the sociology of leisure.
Helen Thornham is Research Fellow at the Institute of Communications Studies, University of Leeds, UK.
'Helen Thornham’s excellent exploration of video gaming decisively shifts the terrain of game studies. From the solitary screen experience to play in the living room, in Thornham’s work gaming becomes an embodied techno-social relation accounted for in narrative terms. A rich and sustained ethnographic study that also re-theorizes the relation between games and those who play them.' Caroline Bassett, University of Sussex, UK 'A welcome corrective to the view that videogaming is dangerously antisocial. Thornham persuasively demonstrates that videogaming is a physical, embodied activity, deeply embedded in everyday domestic routines and relationships. Her theoretical approach reveals important insights into gender relations, and challenges stereotyped concepts of gaming behaviours. Gamers and non-gamers alike, as well as scholars interested in these new, important leisure activities, will find this book of considerable interest.' MÃ¡ire Messenger Davies, University of Ulster, UK