Date of Award

1-8-2016

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Learning Technologies Division

First Advisor

Brendan Calandra, Ph.D

Second Advisor

Jodi Kaufmann, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Teri Holbrook, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Jen Jenson, Ph.D.

Abstract

This study employs a narrative approach to explore the relationship between gender and video gaming using a postmodern theoretical perspective. At issue here is the meaning ascribed to the construction and iterative performance of gender identity by self-identified female gamers. Using an alternative to the conventional multicase methodology (which inscribes stark demarca-tions around distinct cultural identities) this research understands participant cases as fragmented and fluid artifacts of hypermediated postmodern experiences. This study examines three gamers in an attempt to offer some provisional answers to the question: What does it mean to the participant in this study to identify as a female gamer? Furthermore, the following sub-questions will assist in cultivating understandings that offer unique and multifaceted worldviews: (a) How is gender identity enacted within video games? (b) How is gender identity enacted in out-of-game contexts related to gaming? (c) How does the construction and enactment of a gendered identity as part of the gaming experience influence individual gamer conceptions of gender? Data sources—including interviews, observations, audiovisual artifacts, and researcher memos—reveal types of “lived” events (Deleuze & Guattari, 1991/1994, pp. 33-34) as opposed to participants’ truths as substantiated by means of “brute data” (St. Pierre, 2013a). Data is represented in narrative form as a means of disrupting the prevailing discourse that stages digital culture as male purview, and opening up the space for reinscription.

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