Playing war

Shaw, I. (2010) Playing war. Social and Cultural Geography, 11(8), pp. 789-803. (doi:10.1080/14649365.2010.521855)

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Abstract

This paper argues that war video games are transitional spaces that connect players to the 'war on terror'. It explores the pervasive influence of militarism in video games and how the US Army is enlisting play as an active force in blurring the distinctions between civilian and soldier. The paper begins by theorizing what exactly it means to 'play', and settles on the concept of 'transitional space' provided by psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott. It then investigates the 'military entertainment complex', an assemblage of institutions and sites that produce military video games for commercial release. Next, the paper looks at the aesthetics of video games, revealing an entrenched colonial logic instrumental for military recruitment and consent. The final section pulls all of this together to argue that video games are transitional spaces instrumental to understanding the everyday geographies of violence, terror, and warfare.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Shaw, Dr Ian
Authors: Shaw, I.
Subjects:G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences > Geography
Journal Name:Social and Cultural Geography
ISSN:1464-9365

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