Dissertation Defense | ‘A Game of Pawns: Fan-Made Content and Resistance in Online Video Game Communities’
PhD-candidate: Argyrios Emmanouloudis
Date: September 9th, 2022, 16:00
Location: University of Amsterdam
Supervisor: Joyce Goggin
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The focus of this project is tactics of resistance in online video game communities. I am interested in how these communities form and develop based on fan-made content, and what questions arise in terms of hegemony and power relations for all participants, namely the fans and the industry. The dissertation discusses issues, such as exploitation and gift economies, cultural resistance, and community fragmentation. To explore those issues, I selected three cases of fan communities that emerged around specific video game projects. Αll constitute projects that began as resistive, alternative readings by fans which were later absorbed by the gaming industry. I followed the development and evolution of those communities for the entire duration of my research, while also interviewing their leaders for a more insightful approach. Within the platforms used by the aforementioned communities there exists a framework for collaboration between fans and companies, but also for conflict. Labour is potentially decommodified, and workers become participants, either as leaders or followers in an enormous, interconnected mediascape. In the end, however, the entertainment industry system seemingly invariably finds ways to capitalise on the effort of fans.