Periscopic Play: Re-positioning "the field" in MMO studies

Nick Taylor
unpublished
Ethnographic research on Massively Multiplayer Online games (MMOs) has begun to chart how these games impact 'real world' identities, practices and institutions. Far less attention has been paid in this emergent field, however, to the ways these games are always already situated in the everyday lives of those that play them-and how participants' embodied subjectivities are therefore 'in play'. This paper argues that recent MMO scholarship, in re-invoking a tired and unproductive dichotomy
more » ... ive dichotomy between the 'real' and the 'virtual', not only neglects the material and discursive contexts in which games are played, but also renders invisible the play-based participant observation of researchers themselves. I look to cyber-feminist theory, as well as certain strands of feminist ethnography, to call attention to how this kind of 'periscopic play' might limit our understandings of MMOs.
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