What Kind of Culture Is 'Game Culture'?

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UTA: Institute for Advanced Social Research (IASR) and The New Social Research Programme (NSR)

University of Tampere
Institute for Advanced Social Research (IASR) in cooperation with
New Social Research Programme (NSR)

Speakers Series 2018-2019, Autumn

Open lecture by Professor Frans Mäyrä, NSR

11.12. What Kind of Culture Is 'Game Culture'?

‘Culture’ is a complex and ambiguous concept. The cultural study of games aims to understand what the cultural characteristics of games are, while also unravelling the operation of wider, socio-cultural contexts that are essential for games to be actualized in play, and in other meaning-making processes. In terms of history, one can seek to understand e.g. the evolution of distinctive ‘chess culture’, but also the roles that a game like chess has played in different cultures, around the world. Currently, the scope and forms of game culture are perhaps more diversified and pervasive than ever before. Coupled with new information and communication technologies, games have expanded into extensive virtual worlds, as well as entered the streets as new kinds of location-based, mobile games. Simultaneously, large parts of actual game playing remain invisible. In the Finnish Player Barometer study, it is notable that rather casual games – such as Solitaire (Pasianssi), or Lotto – are leading the list of most popular games that people play. One can say that there is not one ‘game culture’, but several, ranging from the daily routines of casual game players to the passionate dedication of game hobbyists and professionals of various kinds. How we define ‘game culture’ also depends on our theoretical perspective and knowledge interests. Seeking particularities, cultural differences and situated identities, we will find many gaming subcultures. Looking at the more general and wide-ranging dimensions of games-related meaning making, we will find how our cultures and societies in general are displaying more interest in games – perhaps moving towards a ‘Ludic Society’, while being influenced by cultural processes of ‘ludification’.

What is the Speakers Series of the University of Tampere?
– The Speakers Series is a series of Studia Generalia Lectures in the Study of Society organized weekly by the University of Tampere Institute for Advanced Social Research (IASR) in cooperation with the New Social Research Programme (NSR). The lectures are given by the Research Fellows as well as the distinguished guests of the IASR and the NSR. For the programme, please check the IASR website www.uta.fi/iasr/lectures/.



Tutkimussihteeri Marjukka Virkajärvi, 050 318 6697, Marjukka.Virkajarvi@uta.fi