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Massively Multiplayer Online Video Gaming as Participation in a Discourse

Mind, Culture, and Activity Volume 13, Number 1, ISSN 1074-9039


This article has two primary goals: (a) to illustrate how a closer analysis of language can lead to fruitful insights into the activities that it helps constitute, and (b) to demonstrate the complexity of the practices that make up Massively Multiplayer Online Gaming (MMOGaming) through just such an analysis. The first goal is in response to the way we sometimes treat language in studies of activity, despite calls for more nuanced analyses (e.g., Wells, 2002), as a mere conduit for information in which its other (social, identity) functions are overlooked. The second goal is in response to the diatribes against video games in the media and their frequent dismissal as barren play. In this article, I use functional linguistics to unpack how a seemingly inconsequential turn of talk within the game "Lineage" reveals important aspects of the activity in which it is situated as well as the broader "forms of life" enacted in the game through which members display their allegiance and identity. (Contains 3 tables.)


Steinkuehler, C.A. (2006). Massively Multiplayer Online Video Gaming as Participation in a Discourse. Mind, Culture, and Activity, 13(1), 38-52. Retrieved July 23, 2019 from .

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