Power Games: Rules and Roles in Second Life

Document type: Dissertations
Full text:
Author(s): Maria Bäcke
Title: Power Games: Rules and Roles in Second Life
Series: Blekinge Institute of Technology Doctoral Dissertation Series
Year: 2011
Issue: 9
ISBN: 978-91-7295-209-6
ISSN: 1653-2090
Publisher: Blekinge Institute of Technology
City: Karlskrona
Organization: Blekinge Institute of Technology
Department: School of Planning and Media Design (Sektionen för planering och mediedesign)
School of Planning and Media Design S-371 79 Karlskrona
+46 455 38 50 00
Authors e-mail: maria.backe@bth.se
Language: English
Abstract: This study investigates how the members of four different role-playing communities on the online platform Second Life perform social as well as dramatic roles within their community. The trajectories of power influencing these roles are my main focus. Theoretically I am relying primarily on performance studies scholar Richard Schechner, sociologist Erving Goffman, and post-structuralists Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze and Felìx Guattari. My methodological stance has its origin primarily within literature studies using text analysis as my preferred method, but I also draw on the (cyber)ethnographical works of primarily T.L. Taylor, Celia Pearce, and Mikael Jakobsson. In this dissertation my focus is the relationship of the role-player to their chosen role especially in terms of the boundary between being in character, and as such removed from ”reality,” and the popping out of character, which instead highlights the negotiations of the social, sometimes make-belief, roles. Destabilising and problematising the dichotomy between the notion of the online as virtual and the offline as real, as well as the idea that everything is ”real” regardless of context, my aim is to understand role-play in a digital realm in a new way, in which two modes of performance, dramatic and social, take place in a digital context online — or inworld as many SL residents call it.
Subject: Digital Game Development\General
Technoscience Studies\General
The Humanities\English
Keywords: performance, role-play, Second Life, online worlds, virtual worlds, virtual, digital space, rules, hierarchies, subversion, power, negotiation, make-believe
URN: urn:nbn:se:bth-00496