Videogames and Sociology: Twitter’s pic of the day summary (36–40)
This is the eighth round of Pic of the day RECAP (36–40). To understand what all of this is about, check out the original entry.
36 — The Forest: I love my guts
This out of proportions love for himself might be interpreted in two, kind of related, ways: one in a metaphorical sense and the other as quite literal. According to the former, he may be referring to his determination and boldness. Who does not love the strength to face obstacles and rise to the challenges? But the guy is actually lying — presumably dead — on a table in the middle of a dark cave. If that careless daredevil attitude got him in there in first place, why would he love those stupid guts? However, if he is alluding to his actual guts — those that we can observe sprouting from his belly, that’s, at best, ironic. If fact, everything is just based on a false premise: that the guts were in the T-shirt before they were pulled out. Just like society: did it exist before sociologists say it was there? There’s an important difference, though. I would never say ‘I love my society’.
37 — Free to Play: Gaming will be the death of you one day
If your aunt prophesies your death by the hand of gaming — and this happens in the film Free to Play (the prophecy, not his demise) — then you should start worrying (I would!). But since she doesn’t specify what type of death awaits him, we can only speculate about it. Is it a social death? Gaming has traditionally been linked to social isolation, but lately, and Free to Play is a good example of this tendency, gaming has become mainstream. Is it a professional death? That’s more likely, because if he wants to succeed in a eSports career, his time as a pro player will eventually come to an end. Nevertheless, he will still be able to work in other areas (related or not to gaming). Is it a final biological death? There have been reported some ludicrous deaths because of playing video games, but unless he spends more than two days in a row playing uninterruptedly while he solely drinks Mountain Dew (and, to be honest, we don’t know if he actually does this), he’s not going to die any time soon due to gaming. There is still one unexplored death. That of the inner self. The soul, say some. The subject, say others. In that case, he’s already dead and is probably unaware of it.
38 — Faster Than Light: Intruders detected
No matter how far we are from our local coordinates, spatial and temporal, we will always make distinctions between us and the others, the local and the foreigner, our own and the outsiders. Groups, nations, countries, factions, communities, guilds, gangs… wherever and whenever a collective of individuals exists, there will always be people seen as the intruders, which are fundamental to the definition of the group: its constitutive outside.
39 — Penumbra — Black Plague: There cannot be one, there can only be us all
I never get tired of a good old agency-structure debate. Is the individual detached from society a possibility or is just an illusion, a trick played by the collective imagination that creates it? Is society just the outcome of the addition of several individuals or is it something greater than the sum of its ‘parts’? What the hive — that collective mind — says in the video game Penumbra is true and false at the same time. We, the sociologists, have been fighting this war for more than a hundred years. Too many casualties, too many efforts to solve the problem. Giddens’s structuration theory (1984), Bourdieu’s theory that links habitus, field and capital (1998) or Berger and Luckmann’s description on how social reality is constructed (1967) have been some interesting and, to certain extent, successful proposals to overcome this problem. I particularly like Latour’s elegant approach: “the social possesses the bizarre property of not being made of agency or structure at all, but rather of being a circulating entity” (1999: 17).
40 — Far Cry: Stay low and avoid contact if possible
How many times have we been given this sort of advice? Stay low, don’t stand out. Avoid contact, people are dangerous. Is the man lying motionless on his own blood one of those who tried to step out of line? What if he was the one who played by the book and the one holding the gun is the smart guy who didn’t listen to the same old story? You can try to avoid contact, but reality is all about connections. No escape there. And sometimes, staying low is precisely what attract all that unwanted attention. Here’s my tip: stay low if you are passing behind a low ceiling and avoid contact in case there are sparks coming from it or you see a politician reaching out his hand.
- Berger, Peter L. and Luckmann, Thomas (1967). The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge. New York: Anchor.
- Bourdieu, Pierre (1998). Practical Reason: On the Theory of Action. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
- Giddens, Anthony (1984). The Constitution of Society. Cambridge: Polity Press.
- Latour, Bruno (1999). “On recalling ANT” en Law, John y Hassard, John. Actor-Network Theory and after. Oxford: Blackwell, 15–25.
Originally published at the3headedmonkey.blogspot.com.