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Title: Gaming politics : gender and sexuality on earth and beyond
Author: Borges Lima, Leandro Augusto
ISNI:       0000 0004 7969 9976
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis investigates the characters, plots, and images in BioWare's videogame trilogy Mass Effect and its transmedia universe with the aim of informing what is political about videogames and where politics is found in videogames. By focusing on a critical assessment of gender and sexuality politics in the making and playing of videogames, this thesis highlights the configurative nature of interactions that inform videogames culture and discusses how the political appears in videogames content, production, consumption and media. I critically approach the extensive literature produced by scholars interested in videogames, particularly those of ludology, narratology and cultural studies, evaluating their theoretical and methodological contributions to the field. I expand the interdisciplinary nature of game and videogame studies through a) an interface with concepts from political sciences, and b) a dialogue with French-Brazilian perspectives of communication theory. Furthermore, I advocate that the current methodological approaches to videogames studies are insufficient to explore the complexity of videogames and, specifically, its political potential. Thus, aiming towards a comprehensive and in-depth study of Mass Effect as an example of 'the political' in videogames, I develop the configurative analysis framework. The framework proposes a holistic approach to videogames research based on the use of extensive sets of data and layered stages of analysis, accounting for the configurative dynamics within three spheres: medium-sphere, gaming-sphere and culture-sphere. This approach, built upon a theoretical refinement of the concept of configuration, allows the research to account for several instances of subject's interaction with gaming and the overall network of relations that encompasses and influences the industry, the gameplay moment, and videogames culture. The thesis concludes that videogames are a site where politics have persistently taken place since its origins. However, the use of videogames for political conversation of gender and sexuality is a movement that must emerge both from those involved in its production and the publics that consume it. Videogames can counter conservative discourses of hegemonic masculinity and heteronormativity, enabling new forms and stages for the voice of marginalised publics to be heard.
Supervisor: Atkinson, Sarah Anne ; Conor, Bridget Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available