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Author Curlew, Albert Brady
Title Play/counterplay: The cultural politics of digital game modification
book jacket
Descript 297 p
Note Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 73-01, Section: A, page:
Thesis (Ph.D.)--York University (Canada), 2011
The modification of pop culture by its users happens with such frequency that the output of these practices, as well as the emerging cultural politics attached to them, should not be ignored. This dissertation explores the cultural politics of the modification (or "modding") of digital games by their users in applying a contextual triangulation of cultural studies, political economy and critical information studies to several relevant case examples that identify, analyze and interrogate how user modification of digital games is affecting and being affected by interactions and confrontations between media users, corporate producers, and wider social and political forces
The concept of modding offered here, broadened from existing conceptions by emphasizing not only the structural alteration of game code but also the potential alterations of conceptual influence (via the borrowing and re-expressing of ideas, themes and subject matter from existing sources), is tied to user creativity as expressed in the concept of participatory culture, itself theorized here as animated by play and playful experimentation within spaces of possibility. Framed in this way, modding is positioned not as a recent gaming phenomenon, but one bound to the entire history of video games as technological forms and to a wider socio-cultural history of playing with cultural forms in general. As such, attempts to contain, regulate or commercially exploit user behaviour (by erecting boundaries of play) are challenged by modification's links to play and playful experimentation that appear both cultural and natural, manifesting in what I call counterplay , the oppositional or disruptive practices of some creative users
From the nuanced perspective offered by disciplinary triangulation, modding is rendered as a multi-dimensional cultural practice, bound both to forces of user empowerment offered by socio-technical change and to forces of user exploitation present in existing socio-economic structural realities. Ultimately, what becomes clear is that how modders negotiate this contested terrain works to persistently redefine the role of media users and expected user behaviour in the popular cultural environments they play in, play with and play against
School code: 0267
Host Item Dissertation Abstracts International 73-01A
Subject Multimedia Communications
Mass Communications
Alt Author York University (Canada)
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