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Title: Immunitary gaming : mapping the first-person shooter
Author: Cenci, Robert Andrew
ISNI:       0000 0004 6422 9859
Awarding Body: Goldsmiths, University of London
Current Institution: Goldsmiths College (University of London)
Date of Award: 2017
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Videogames have been theorised as an action-based medium. The original contribution to knowledge this thesis makes is to reconfigure this claim by considering popular multiplayer FPS games as reaction-based – particularly, immune reactions. I take up Roberto Esposito’s claim that the individual in contemporary biopolitics is defined negatively against the other, controlled and ultimately negated via their reactions to power’s capacity to incessantly generate threats. By inciting insecurity and self-protective gestures, FPS games like Activision’s Call of Duty franchise and EA’s Battlefield series vividly dramatise Esposito’s thought, producing an immunitary gaming. Immunitary Gaming locates the FPS within key moments of change as well as evolution in Western image systems including the emergence of linear perspective, cartography and the early years of the cinema. The FPS appropriates these image systems, but also alters their politics. Giorgio Agamben has argued that the apparatuses of late modernity no longer subjectify like their forebears, but desubjectify the individual, producing an impotent neoliberal body politic. I trace a similar development here. My work also seeks to capture the player’s movements via autoethnographic writing that communicates the viscerally and intensity of the experience. The FPS is framed as capable of giving insight into both the present and the future of our technological and political milieu and ‘sensorium,’ in Walter Benjamin’s terms. In its valorisation of the individual and production of insecurity to incite action, this project argues that the FPS is a symbolic form of immunitary neoliberal governmentality.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral