Folklore of the virtual elves : social identity construction and performance in a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG)

Staple, Benjamin (2010) Folklore of the virtual elves : social identity construction and performance in a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG). Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

As virtual worlds gain popularity, they are quickly becoming places of online culture. Within these cultural contexts, players are re-inventing themselves through postmodern constructions of identity. This M.A. thesis explores the role of folklore in the virtual identity construction and performance within the online community of the massively multi-player online role-playing game Warhammer Online. As a product of popular culture, Warhammer Online acts as both a construction of commercialism and as a site of vernacular culture. Player communities participate in a power relationship with the development company as they negotiate the cultural commodification of play experience and vernacular appropriation. Flows of knowledge and folklore within these relationships pattern players' experience of Warhammer Online and contribute to the broader migration of player groups between virtual worlds themselves. Employing ethnographic techniques, this thesis traces the experience of players through phenomenological embodiment and self-perception in avatar creation to social performance in negotiating existential authenticity and community conflict.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/9522
Item ID: 9522
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 127-134.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Folklore
Date: 2010
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Internet games--Social aspects; Warhammer (Game)--Social aspects; Group identity

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