Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Communication and Culture
This thesis illustrates, using political economy, the ways in which governments increasingly play a large role in developing, or encouraging the development of, videogames, and how these games then circulate and interact as political texts in the public sphere. This is achieved in four parts: two on history and theory, and two case studies. The theoretical chapters have two main foci: the first is by finding value in videogames as meaningful cultural artifacts that play a role in the ongoing maintenance of the state and civil society. This is achieved through a literature review and discussion of the contemporary theoretical parameters of the public sphere, which draws heavily on the work of Habermas (1991), Warner (2002) and Drache (2008). In the second chapter this discussion is located inside the field of game studies, drawing heavily on the work of Bogost (2007), whose theoretical frameworks about the persuasive potential of videogames is investigated through their unique status as computational objects. The two second chapters each conduct a political economy through commodification, spatialization and structuration (Mosco, 2009) on the development of videogames who have a direct link with state intervention: The United States Army recruitment videogame America's Army (which was funded entirely by the Pentagon) and the Toronto developed iOS videogame Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP, which was the recipient of a small-scale cultural industry grant from the provincially owned Ontario Media Development Corporation.
Joseph, Daniel, "State Intervention, Videogames and The Public Sphere: a Critical Political Economic Analysis" (2012). Theses and dissertations. Paper 788.