Delamere, F. (2005). ‘It’s just really fun to play’! a constructionist perspective on violence and gender representations in violent video games. Dissertation Abstracts International Section A: Humanities and Social Sciences, Vol 65(10-A), 2005. pp. 3986. Retrieved July 16, 2009, from PsycINFO database.
Communication researchers have highlighted the need to conduct research that uses alternative methodologies to examine gender and violence, as well as the connections between the two, in video games. This study took on this challenge and adopted an interpretive hermeneutical approach to explore the meanings and experiences of game players, and the implications of these meanings for the social construction of reality. The analysis led to the development of three main themes, ” The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”. The first major theme, “The Good”; encapsulated players’ positive experience of violent video game play. The players in this study experienced many positive aspects and espoused numerous related benefits of game play, such as fun, the exhilarating thrill of an adrenaline rush, gaining cognitive problem solving and other career related skills, becoming immersed or lost in the experience (being in “flow”), stress relief and relaxation, and, surprisingly, increased social connectedness and bonding with others as part of game play. The second major theme “The Bad” captured some players’ acknowledged concerns about game play. These were related to the violence in the games, and included player recognition of being desensitized to violence, concerns that some of the violence was unpalatable or went “too far”, experiencing aggressive emotions, and exhibiting and witnessing aggressive behaviors. In addition to personal concerns, players were particularly concerned about younger children’s access to and playing of violent video games. The third and final main theme, “The Ugly”, contained evidence of the continuance of stereotypical reproductions of gender within this type of leisure entertainment. In addition to this, it was revealed that a large portion of the violence in the games is gendered violence targeted towards females and non-hegemonic males. The reproduction of gender was a strong component of the hegemonic and masculine culture of gaming. Interpretation of these findings was based on the social constructionist framework as well as on feminist theoretical perspectives. The meanings and experiences associated with game play contributed to the social construction of gender and violence, as well as to the intersection of the two. The perspectives of the players indicated various ways in which video games contribute not only to the acceptance and normalization of violence and violent images, but also to the reinforcement of traditional notions of gender and to the perpetuation of gendered violence. (Abstract shortened by UMI.) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2008 APA, all rights reserved)