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Exploring gender discursive struggles about social inclusion in an online gaming community

Exploring gender discursive struggles about social inclusion in an online gaming community The purpose of this paper is to adopt a critical relational dialectics framework to identify and explore gender discursive struggles about social inclusion observed in an online gaming community, in South Africa.Design/methodology/approachThe paper uses a technique called contrapuntal analysis to identify and explore competing discourses in over 200 messages on gender struggles about social inclusion posted in the local community’s gamer discussion board, based on seven threads initiated by women gamer activists.FindingsThe findings show how four interrelated gender discursive struggles about social inclusion and social exclusion animated the meanings of online gamer relations: dominance vs equality, stereotyping vs diversity, competitiveness vs cooperativeness and privilege vs empowerment.Practical implicationsGame designers should reinforce more accurate and positive stereotypes to cater for the rapidly growing female gamer segment joining the online gaming market and to develop a less chauvinistic and more diversely representative online gaming community. Enlightened gamers should exercise greater solidarity in fighting for gender equality in online gaming communities.Originality/valueThe critical relational dialectics analysis adopted in this study offers a promising avenue to understand and critique the discursive struggles that arise when online gamers from the different gender groups relate. The findings highlight the unequal discursive power and privilege of many white male gamers when discussing social inclusion. Advancing our understanding of these discursive struggles creates the possibilities for improving social inclusion in online gaming communities. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Information Technology & People Emerald Publishing

Exploring gender discursive struggles about social inclusion in an online gaming community

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
0959-3845
DOI
10.1108/itp-04-2019-0163
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to adopt a critical relational dialectics framework to identify and explore gender discursive struggles about social inclusion observed in an online gaming community, in South Africa.Design/methodology/approachThe paper uses a technique called contrapuntal analysis to identify and explore competing discourses in over 200 messages on gender struggles about social inclusion posted in the local community’s gamer discussion board, based on seven threads initiated by women gamer activists.FindingsThe findings show how four interrelated gender discursive struggles about social inclusion and social exclusion animated the meanings of online gamer relations: dominance vs equality, stereotyping vs diversity, competitiveness vs cooperativeness and privilege vs empowerment.Practical implicationsGame designers should reinforce more accurate and positive stereotypes to cater for the rapidly growing female gamer segment joining the online gaming market and to develop a less chauvinistic and more diversely representative online gaming community. Enlightened gamers should exercise greater solidarity in fighting for gender equality in online gaming communities.Originality/valueThe critical relational dialectics analysis adopted in this study offers a promising avenue to understand and critique the discursive struggles that arise when online gamers from the different gender groups relate. The findings highlight the unequal discursive power and privilege of many white male gamers when discussing social inclusion. Advancing our understanding of these discursive struggles creates the possibilities for improving social inclusion in online gaming communities.

Journal

Information Technology & PeopleEmerald Publishing

Published: Mar 9, 2020

Keywords: Social inclusion; Gender; Computer games; Online gaming; Contrapuntal analysis; Critical relational dialectics

References