Global gaming networks are heterogenous collectives of localized practices, not unified commercial products. Shifting the analysis of digital games to local specificities that build and perform the global and general, Gaming Rhythms employs ethnographic work conducted in Venezuela and Australia to account for the material experiences of actual game players.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Mo(ve)ments Conference Abstract

Everyday Empowerment? Videogames in the Developing World: A Situated Study of Caracas, Venezuela

In her groundbreaking book Playing with Power in Movies, Television, and Videogames: From Muppet Babies to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Marsha Kinder maintains that the interactive nature of videogames gives children a sense of empowerment. A key caveat that she places on this sense of empowerment is that it is linked to acts of consumption, both within the game, and outside the game. Kinder locates this phenomenon of empowerment through the play and consumption of videogames in a global context. In this paper, I will re-evaluate Kinder’s claims in the light of the inequality of the power relations between the global videogame industry and their audience. In order to do this I will turn to the ethnographic data gained during fieldwork in Caracas, Venezuela from March through July 2005.

My intervention in Kinder’s argument takes the form of the following question: Can the interactivity of videogames be empowering in the developing world, in the same manner as they are in the wealthier countries of the ‘developed world’? This paper examines the ways in which game players’ that are otherwise excluded from consumptive practices due to lack of resources may nevertheless be empowered through game-play. Through a investigation of videogames in the context of the everyday lives of the players’ I will argue that empowerment in the context of Venezuela, is not so much linked to empowerment through consumption; but rather to empowerment through community, participation, and creativity.

The conference is subtitled 'Local, National and Global Carribean Popular Culture', as I recall Venezuela is on the Carribean so its vaguely relevant, and at least the conference is in Melbourne.

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About Me

This blog started as a PhD blog, for my project 'Global Rhythms: Video games and the Transformation of Play'. It finally become a book. This is a "historic" record of the trials a tribulations.