Beyond the pale : gaming controversies and moral panics as rites of passage
Published inJyväskylä studies in humanities
Throughout the history of Western popular culture, new emerging forms of media have been perceived as threats to social norms, societal order and moral foundations. The present compilation dissertation situates the medium of digital games into this centuries-old continuum. This study contents that controversies and moral panics that originate from the aforementioned concerns should be perceived as cultural rites of passage for new media, which indicate their transition from one state into another, from periphery into mainstream. This study demonstrates that gaming controversies and moral panics are rarely situational or random events. Rather, they are manufactured through social interaction by individuals and interest groups, driven by various sociopolitical motives. These rhetors have created a host of discourse units, which are used to construct multifaceted narratives and ontological claims that shape the social reality of digital games. The thesis also explores several sociocultural factors that are generally shared by gaming controversies and moral panics. Furthermore, the dissertation maps the cultural evolution of these socially constructed events. Albeit the classic controversial themes of violence, crime and sex still generate social concerns, these incidents have evolved from mere representation-, content- or effects-based contentions into broader cultural discussions that deal with more comprehensive societal issues. Controversies and panics are products of their zeitgeist and surrounding culture. The study also examines moral and cultural boundaries that inhibit the scope of expression of digital games. These implicit restrictions demonstrate that the new societal status of the medium is still being negotiated. Lastly, the medium-specific qualities of gaming controversies and panics are analysed. ...
PublisherUniversity of Jyväskylä
digitaalinen media game studies digital games moral panic gaming controversy gaming culture game violence digitaaliset pelit pelitutkimus moraalinen paniikki moraali sosiaaliset normit pelikulttuuri pelit väkivaltaviihde polemiikki julkinen keskustelu sosiaalinen asema yhteiskunnallinen asema uusmedia mediakulttuuri populaarikulttuuri
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