About The Sociology of Video Games

Welcome to the Sociology of Video games, a blog at the intersection of Sociology and Video Games.

Hey, why should I care?

Good question! Video games are emerging as staples in our everyday lives. Each year more Americans are playing games, and as result we’re seeing video games make their ways into aspects of our society that we never would have guessed they’d become apart of. From uses in medical rehabilitation to interviewing potential clients for a job, video games are being utilized in new and innovating ways each year.

But why Sociology, why not media studies or psychology?

Video Games are an immersive experience unlike any other form of media; they have the ability to connect us to people across the world, move us with amazing storytelling, and influence the way we look at the world. As such, video games shouldn’t be limited  to one academic discipline; each field has their own questions and concerns when evaluating the medium Through sociology we can view video games as products of society that represent and mirror the societal changes we see in our on going lives. Not only that, but we can observe how video games are creating social change themselves, be it in the way they contribute to our socialization  or in the way they effect the way we communicate with others. Video games are emerging, along side the internet, as the most important societal change in our generation as a result of their new and distinct way of allowing us interact with others.

Who are you to write about all of this?

You got a point there. My name is Ian Larson, a gamer and sociologist . I received my B.A at the University California, Berkeley, and received my education in gaming on a spot of carpet I rarely moved from for years. I’m currently pursuing graduate studies in sociology and video game studies and hope to one day be able to further both fields of studies.

How Can I Get Involved?

The sociology of video games is still an emerging emphasis in sociology, and as such we need voices! Blog, write, discuss!

How Can I Contact You? 

Drop me a comment on the blog or send me over a message. If you have an idea for a blog post, or would even like to contribute something yourself, please let me know! You can also tweet me at @Socialvideogame. Please, no carrier pigeons.

Please Like or Follow us on Twitter!twit

17 Responses to About The Sociology of Video Games

  1. Dustin Jensen says:

    Hey there Ian, stumbled across your page and I think it is great! Although I am a Computing Science major, the sociology of video games has always been an interest of mine. Thanks for the great writing and looking forward to reading more!

  2. Josh S says:

    This page is excellent. I’m a sociology PhD student at Berkeley and an avid video game fan. It’s great to see an attempt to apply sociology to a growing medium that’s almost entirely ignored by our discipline. If you’re still in the Bay Area we should meet sometime. Keep it up!

    • ianrl1989 says:

      Hey thanks, I really appreciate your comment. Great to see someone else in our field interested in the two; I think there’s a great deal sociologists can learn from and study in the world of video games, and I’m sure one day we’ll see the discipline begin to catch up.

  3. Hey!! I’m Ana, i’m a sociology student from Mexico!! 😄 i’m working on a project regarding sociology of video games and i’ve found out we’re not the only ones looking into this topic!! So great to find your blog!

  4. Hey Ian, I found your blog tonight and think it is most excellent. I am an assistant professor of sociology and received my PhD last year studying social interaction in video games. My dream is to develop a ‘sociology of video games’ course. I’m easing into that now by teaching an intro sociology course focusing on visual culture, so in addition to games as sociological examples, I am also using film, television, and social media. Anyway, I am definitely going to keep up with you here!

    • ianrl1989 says:

      Thanks so much for the comment and support! It’s great to hear from those on the frontline of the subject matter! Any advice for someone starting the process of looking into graduate programs for the subject matter?

  5. Hey Ian, I’ve just had a peep at your blog and I must say it’s very good! I’m an anthropologist from the UK and I’m really quite interested in video games (both as a hobby and as an area of academic interest) so please keep up the great work, I’ll be checking in for more. I’d love to look at some similar stuff when my video game blog https://sandboxmodegamingblog.wordpress.com/ has grown a bit, maybe I could ask you to contribute a guest post in the future?

    • ianrl1989 says:

      Hi Joshua, thanks for the comment! Your blog looks like it’s off to a great start. I’d be willing to contribute something in the future. Anything specific you had in mind?

      • No problem, and thank you 😀 That’s fantastic I really appreciate it, I’m not really looking for anything in specific I’m sure anything you decide to contribute would be great (but we’ll sort that out a bit further down the road), thanks again!

  6. Hi Ian,

    I started undergrad in computer science to make video games that were beneficial to society. I later switched to sociology when I was humbled to learn that I could not fix problems that I didn’t first understand. I am now in an interdisciplinary masters program and I hope to elevate sociology as a complimentary lever for the successful application of other disciplines such as computer science. Thank you for making me feel that my crazy ideas might one day be accepted. I look forward to engaging with you via the blog.

    Best,
    Derek

    • ianrl1989 says:

      Hi Derek,
      Thanks for the comment! I’m always glad to hear there’s others out there who believe video games can be used as tools for social change and betterment. Please share any research or finds you may come across!

  7. Awal says:

    Cool site. Hi, I’m also one of the sociology grads, and also growing up with video games, and really interested in studying sociology of video games. From Malaysia.
    We do not have any video game course here though, so I’d love to further my study in master degree in sociology, and also in gaming course, to make a better society, and also, to quench my thirst for knowledge and curiosities. Lulz. I’m rooting for you!

    • ianrl1989 says:

      Glad you enjoy the site! Awesome to hear your studying this intersection between gaming and sociology yourself! Hopefully one day it’ll be a much bigger emphasis within sociology.

  8. Mahdi says:

    Hi! I study sociology at Tehran University. I just wanted you to recommend me some books or articles about “sociology of games”. Thanks!

    • ianrl1989 says:

      Hi Mahdi! Thanks for reaching out. Good sociological books on Video games are often few and far between, but I have found some decent works. Here are a few to check out: “Social Exclusion, Power, and Video Game Play : New Research in Digital Media and Technology” put together by Lukács, András,Wright, J. Talmadge,Embrick, David G. is a great collection of essays by different researchers about varying areas in video games. Some have more psychology leanings, but a lot of them deal with sociological issues are several are done by sociologists and it’s a great book as a sort of survey for the sociology of video games. Other authors to look into are Jesper Juul and Ian Bogost. Both authors technically aren’t sociologists, but the issues and themes they write about are very pertinent and interesting to sociology. Hope that helps!

  9. lucacarrubba says:

    Hi, it is a really interesting site, thanks for it. I’m an artist and a sociologist trying to develop a cross-field research between Spain and Latin America. Here you can find a video recording of my last conference @ Universidad Nacional de Colombia (in Spanish): https://archive.org/details/sociologiavideojuegos. It is a first attempt to develop a critical analysis research group in Colombia about videogames as culture and as creative practice. I hope you find it interesting and we can exchange opinions and works in the future. Best regards!

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