Hanging by a (Reddit) Thread: An Analysis of Gamer Identity Discourse in an Online Forum

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This thesis project explores the nature of power dynamics in the dialogue of video gamers within designated online forums of discussion. Previous scholarly work has noted the lack of diverse

This thesis project explores the nature of power dynamics in the dialogue of video gamers within designated online forums of discussion. Previous scholarly work has noted the lack of diverse representation and tolerance in the gaming community, despite statistics revealing that the video game community is not as homogeneous as it is often represented. Specifically, the prominent literature analyzing gaming culture focuses on poor representations of gender within video games and the gaming community itself, including sexualized and objectified depictions of women as well as prejudice toward women as members of the gaming community. More recent entries to the field of research draws attention to the experiences of other marginalized communities in gaming. This thesis, then, begs the question – what power dynamics emerge in the dialogue of people who consider themselves to be gamers? How are concepts of social identity expressed or constructed in communication, and what reinforces and legitimizes these relationships? This project will review a foundation of literature structuring the framework of this project, propose methodology for data collection and analysis, and explore themes discovered within the data analysis, which support or negate existing research and give insight to the proposed research questions.