Oral Presentation Session
Reviewed by: General Anthropology Division
Of interest to: Practicing and Applied Anthropologists, Students
Primary Theme: Technology
Secondary Theme: Identity and Equity
This panel looks toward emergent practices among gamers in which the gamer as a “fan” or constitutive of a “fandom” is critical, as well as synchronicity between anthropology and game studies. The realm of games, gamers, and gaming has long been a location of technological, cultural, and political importance. From mobile games that help pass the time to global eSports competitions, games have emerged as ubiquitous technologies that have altered our social realities and everyday lives. The rise of games and other digital media has also led to more and more fan communities, providing an opportunity for fans to build a sense of solidarity amongst themselves and take an active role in the production and consumption of the media they love most. With this rise in popularity, both gaming and fan communities have come under cultural and social scrutiny from society at large for better and for worse—from blockbuster movies like Ready Player One to the current federal administration’s use of games as a straw man in the conversation around gun violence in the US. With a varied methodological and theoretical toolkit, anthropologists are well positioned to provide nuanced, on-the-ground understandings of changes happening in gaming and fan communities, especially with regard to the ways in which fans adapt to spatial, economic, political, legal, and social structures. How can anthropology adapt to account for these ideas?