06 SES 13, Key Concepts and Key Issues in Learning, Education, Media and Culture I
Symposium, Part 1
This paper aims at a conceptual framework for studying material culture in Online Playgrounds, such as Massive Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Games. A great deal of research in media, educational and game studies has considered these spaces as immaterial spaces, outside of the known materiality as it is, for example, studies in cultural anthropology and related fields. Some studies, by contrast, consider new media as embedded in society and everyday life, depending on the usual material constraints and determinants (cf. Schaefer 2008, van den Boomen et al. 2009). As yet, however, the material and immaterial dimensions of material culture in Online Playgrounds are rarely taken into account. I argue that it is indispensable to consider both, the material and immaterial components of material culture online. Based on empirical data, the paper attempts to address this gap, by incorporating cultural and media theoretical concepts. The paper seeks to lead to a deeper understanding of material culture in Online Playgrounds. In doing so, problems, debates, questions, structures of relevance, and points of conflict should be made clear in rethinking a key term in the field of media and cultural studies.
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