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Title: Video gaming parlours : the emergence of video gaming in India
Author: Chhina, Gagun S.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5919 5535
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis critically interrogates the role of local context in the adoption and interpretation of video technology and gaming practices in the little studied locale of India. Video gaming is a recent phenomenon in India which has been rapidly increasing in popularity, yet it has gained little academic attention in digital gaming research. The project seeks to understand the emergence of practices of consumption of video games in India from the point of view of Indians themselves through the exploration of how Indian video gamers situate, interpret and negotiate the practice of video game play. In his book Video Gamers (2012), Gary Crawford makes a case for analysing game play as a practice, situated within everyday experiences and social networks. Crawford identifies two deficiencies in gaming studies: the dominance of a Western-centric viewpoint and the disregard for player context. This research addresses these shortcomings in two ways. First, through situating the field research in Chandigarh. Second, by employing a mixed methods qualitative approach - observations, interviews, focus groups, field notes, pictures and video recordings – to elicit the detail of the gamers' cultural context. Situating these practices within the broader social, historical, geographical and cultural milieu allows for the conceptualisation of contextual factors in terms of their influence on the adoption and interpretation of the global gaming practice in a local setting. These methods allow for the examination of, first, multiple culturally embedded factors and, second, the players' processes of sense making applied to video gaming. Each method makes the social world of the gamers visible in different ways. Fieldwork predominantly took place in video gaming parlours. Investigating game players in the space of the video gaming parlour enabled a more honed understanding of how the practice of video gaming was ‘glocalised’ within particular social, geographical and cultural contexts. A smaller second study was conducted in Manchester, to collect data in a setting that is culturally different from India. This contrasting data provided greater sensitivity to cultural factors in India which might have otherwise been overlooked or which had been obscured. The research draws theoretically upon Bourdieu’s theories of social field, habitus, and capital, combining these with Goffman’s notions of dramaturgy and framing, and Robertson’s concept of glocalisation. These concepts provided a theoretical framework that enabled a interrogation of the data to reveal the sociocultural processes embedded in the gaming parlours, and the individual’s creative engagements with video game products themselves. The methodological and theoretical framework, then, were complementary, offering both an experiential and contextual approach. This study found that video gamers interpret and make sense of the practice of video gaming through their contextual situation, and that they will both consciously and unconsciously attempt to glocalise the practice of video gaming so that it becomes culturally more acceptable.
Supervisor: May, Vanessa ; Balmer, Andrew Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Bourdieu ; global ; glocalisation ; India ; Emergent practices ; Gaming parlours ; Goffman ; Multi-sited ; Video games