Video games are becoming culturally dominant. But what does their popularity say about our contemporary society? This book explores video game culture, but in doing so, utilizes video games as a lens through which to understand contemporary social life.
Video games are becoming an increasingly central part of our cultural lives, impacting on various aspects of everyday life such as our consumption, communities, and identity formation. Drawing on new and original empirical data – including interviews with gamers, as well as key representatives from the video game industry, media, education, and cultural sector – Video Games as Culture not only considers contemporary video game culture, but also explores how video games provide important insights into the modern nature of digital and participatory culture, patterns of consumption and identity formation, late modernity, and contemporary political rationalities.
This book will appeal to undergraduate and postgraduate students, as well as postdoctoral researchers, interested in fields such Video Games, Sociology, and Media and Cultural Studies. It will also be useful for those interested in the wider role of culture, technology, and consumption in the transformation of society, identities, and communities.
"There are only few works that aim for a comprehensive mapping of what games as a culture are, and how their complex social and cultural realities should be studied, as a whole. Daniel Muriel and Garry Crawford have done so, analyzing both games, players, associated practices, and the broad range of socio-cultural developments that contribute to the ongoing ludification of society. Ambitious, lucid, and well-informed, this book is an excellent guide to the field, and will no doubt inspire future work."
Frans Mäyrä, Professor of Information Studies and Interactive Media, University of Tampere
"This book provides an insightful and accessible contribution to our understanding of video games as culture. However, its most impressive achievement is that it cogently shows how the study of video games can be used to explore broader social and cultural processes, including identity, agency, community, and consumption in contemporary digital societies. Muriel and Crawford have written a book that transcends its topic, and deserves to be read widely".
Aphra Kerr, Senior Lecturer in Sociology, Maynooth University
"The monograph’s strongest suit is its ability to draw connections between games and wider society, ethnographic research and (poststructuralist) theory, sociology, and game studies. This is also the point at which the study may not only appeal to undergraduate students and those new to the topic, but also to senior researchers to whom the rise of video game culture will hardly be news."Theresa Krampe, International Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture (Giessen)
List of Illustrations
Preface and Acknowledgements
1 Introduction: Contemporary Culture through the Lens of Video Games
2 The Emergence and Consolidation of Video Games as Culture
3 Video Games and Agency within Neoliberalism and Participatory Culture
4 Video Games as Experience
5 Video Games beyond Escapism: Empathy and Identification
6 Video Gamers and (Post-)Identity
7 Conclusion: This Is Not a Video Game, Or Is It?