Becoming a Gamer: Performative Construction of Gendered Gamer Identities

Marke Kivijärvi*, Saija Katila

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

This article examines how women construct their gameplay identities in relation to the hegemonic “gamer” discourse. The article is based on semi-structured in-depth interviews with women who occupy central roles in the Finnish gaming industry. We deploy Judith Butler’s theorization of performative identity construction to examine how the women negotiate their identity in relation to the hegemonic gamer discourse, focusing on how they both embrace and resist the hegemonic, masculine constructions of gameplay. The study shows the dynamics surrounding the gamer identity. While women submit to the hegemonic gamer discourse, reproducing the masculine gamer notions to gain recognition as a viable member of the gameplay community, the study also identifies how subversive opportunities arise as the women deploy new, alternative versions of gamer identity. The hegemonic discourse is subverted through the identity position of tech-savvy, which departs from the masculine connotations.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages21
JournalGames and Culture
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • digital games
  • gamer identity
  • gender
  • performativity
  • resistance

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