Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Department of Politics and Government: Political Science

First Advisor

Julie Webber


The purpose of this research is to highlight the potential of video games to be a new space for social and civic interaction, facilitated by a variety of structural and community-based features. The theoretical basis for this analysis comes from Bourdieu’s theory of practice, explaining the relationship between individual actions and dispositions, the social setting they are in, and the use of his four forms of capital during the interaction. This thesis walks through the production of norms and dispositions of individuals when playing video games, producing their overall habitus in the space. This is followed by analysis of the virtual field of video games, looking at the design and development of these games, the relationship with the video game community at large and the importance of hierarchy and structure on producing a virtual field of interaction between players. The final chapter breaks down the four major forms of capital outlined by Bourdieu (economic, cultural, social and symbolic) with the fourth being adjusted as a new term, gaming capital, as a representation of the combination of the other three forms when engaging in video game play. The results of this research point to the exponential opportunities for video games to facilitate social and civic engagement, as well as producing varying forms of capital that can be used both within the context of the virtual world and the real one.


Imported from Schwalb_ilstu_0092N_11952.pdf


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