*I’m updating this page (March 2015)*
PH.D. PROJECT (2008-2012):
Storytelling and Identity in Online Gaming Communities. Exploring Online Culture and Communication as Narrative Practices.
This dissertation focuses on narrative practices and user-creativity in online gaming communities. Having studied World of Warcraft player communities in particular, I have found that storytelling on these sites is an important part of a process of making sense of experiences in and surrounding the activity of gaming, and that the stories told within player communities contribute to create and sustain meaningful identities for the individual player as well as groups of players.
My approach to the subject is shaped by literary hermeneutics and narrative theory. In the dissertation, I argue that in order to understand why, how and to what effect people tell stories to each other online, we can benefit from applying the theoretical concept mimesis, which concerns the relationship between the aesthetical representation of reality and the experience of that reality. In this I am especially inspired by Paul Ricoeur’s understanding of mimesis as designating an activity by which we construct meaning out of our experience of reality by resignifying it through narratives.
My investigation is primarily based on textual analysis of narrative texts written by players and posted on their community websites, but set within an online ethnographic field study. Of special interest in this project is how the storytelling of players show how fiction comes to play a role in the interaction in an online group and how the imaginative creations of these players significantly contribute to identity formation for the community as well as its individual members.