Methods for Studying Video Games and Religion: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Methods for Studying Video Games and Religion

1st Edition

Edited by Vít Šisler, Kerstin Radde-Antweiler, Xenia Zeiler


222 pages | 10 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2017-12-05
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Game studies has been an understudied area within the emerging field of digital media and religion. Video games can reflect, reject, or reconfigure traditionally held religious ideas and often serve as sources for the production of religious practices and ideas. This collection of essays presents a broad range of influential methodological approaches that illuminate how and why video games shape the construction of religious beliefs and practices, and also situates such research within the wider discourse on how digital media intersect with the religious worlds of the 21st century. Each chapter discusses a particular method and its theoretical background, summarizes existing research, and provides a practical case study that demonstrates how the method specifically contributes to the wider study of video games and religion. Featuring contributions from leading and emerging scholars of religion and digital gaming, this book will be an invaluable resource for scholars in the areas of digital culture, new media, religious studies, and game studies across a wide range of disciplines.

Table of Contents


Level up: Methods for studying video games and religion

Xenia Zeiler


Part 1: Textual and audiovisual narratives

1 Critical discourse analysis: Studying religion and hegemony in video games

Kathrin Trattner

2 Gaming elicitation in episodic interviews: Let’s play baptism

Kerstin Radde-Antweiler


Part 2: In-game performance

3 An ethnographic method for the study of religion in video game environments

Gregory Price Grieve

4 Surreal impersonation

William Sims Bainbridge


Part 3: Production and design

5 Design-based research: Mobile gaming for learning Jewish history, tikkun olam, and civics

Owen Gottlieb

6 Phenomenological hermeneutics as a bridge between video games and religio-aesthetics

Mikhail Fiadotau


Part 4: Interactivity and rule system

7 Empirical triangulation: Applying multiple methods to explore religion and myth through video games

Enrico Gandolfi

8 Petri net modeling: Analyzing rule-based representations of religion in video games

Vít Šisler

9 Qualitative in-depth interviews: Studying religious meaning-making in MMOs

Stef Aupers, Julian Schaap and Lars de Wildt


Part 5: Gamer-generated content

10 Normalized social distance: Quantitative analysis of religion-centered gaming pages on social networks

Josef Šlerka and Vít Šisler

11 Coding comments on gaming videos: YouTube Let’s Plays, Asian games, and Buddhist and Hindu religions

Xenia Zeiler


Critical reflection

12 How to study religion and video gaming: A critical discussion

Kerstin Radde-Antweiler

About the Editors

Vít Šisler is Assistant Professor of New Media Studies at Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic. His research addresses critical approaches to the intersection of culture and digital media, namely the internet, social media, video games, the networked public sphere, and online communities.

Kerstin Radde-Antweileris Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Bremen, Germany. Her research focuses on mediatized religion, mediatization theory, Pagan and Christian traditions, ritual studies, and actor-centered religious historiography.

Xenia Zeileris tenure track Professor of South Asian Studies at the University of Helsinki, Finland. Her research is situated at the intersection of digital media, religion, and culture, with a special focus on India and the worldwide Indian community.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Religion and Digital Culture

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
GAMES / Video & Electronic
RELIGION / General