Graduation Year

2017

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department

Sociology

Major Professor

Maralee Mayberry, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Sara Crawley, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Julia Meszaros, Ph.D.

Keywords

video games, intersectionality, gender, sexuality, race

Abstract

Video games are often written off as juvenile or frivolous, but they are actually vehicles of socialization and hegemonic ideologies. Because of this, video games are deserving of research and critique. In video games, women are often underrepresented or hypersexualized, while men can be hypermasculinized. Many times, racial and ethnic portrayals in video games paint the person of color as victims of violence, villains, or sports athletes, while white characters take the role of hero or protagonist. Heterosexuality typically goes unmarked and is considered the default sexuality, and homophobic sentiments and slurs are prevalent in the gaming community. Because game developers still adhere to the belief that gamers are a homogenous group of white, cisgender, heterosexual men, LGBT+ representations generally fall into stereotypes—if they are included in the first place. With the lack of marginalized representation, gamers can queer video games through role-playing, queer readings, and in-game modifications. Furthermore, an intersectional analysis of video games is a missing gap in the literature, and this research aims to fill this gap. Through the deployment of critical discourse analysis, I analyzed the critically acclaimed video game The Last of Us Remastered and its accompanying side story The Last of Us: Left Behind for hegemonic or subversive representations of gender, sexuality, race and ethnicity, and intersectionality. I discovered that although the game may incorporate diverse characters, the story ultimately centers on masculinity, heteronormativity, and whiteness through deployment of hegemony.

Available for download on Friday, April 20, 2018

Included in

Sociology Commons

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