Date of Award

12-18-2013

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Communication

First Advisor

Ted Friedman

Second Advisor

Greg Smith

Third Advisor

Ethan Tussey

Abstract

A growing force in the culture of digital games fandom, e-sports represents the profes-sionalization of digital games play. This thesis examines League of Legends, a prominent game in e-sports, to understand the relationship between e-sports and the ideology of neoliberal economics. Using Clifford Geertz’s descriptions of sentimental education as a model, the author argues that League of Legends and other e-sports texts create an environment where neoliberal economic values can be practiced and explored in a meaningful space. The game as text, the culture of e-sports fandom, and the e-sports broadcasting industry are all examined to reveal the ways that e-sports fosters a space to both practice neoliberal values and potentially question them through the conflicting values of Web culture. Understanding the ways e-sports texts and e-sports culture explore ideological values allows for the potential to create more recursive e-sports texts that question this ideology in the future.

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