Breaking down the enchantment: a critical autoethnography of video gaming

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Yacine Kout (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Leila Villaverde

Abstract: Video games are flooding our everyday lives from our phones to our schools. Our understanding of this medium is still developing as it shapes players’ sense of self and their view of the world. This study contributes to bridging that gap by questioning the educative power of video games and their impact on our society through an autoethnographic lens. I analyze my video gaming experiences by journaling, field noting, and crafting epiphanies that represent my history with this medium. I use critical pedagogy as a theoretical framework to unpack and dismantle my experiences as a long standing member of the video gaming community. I use critical themes such as identity building, meaning making, and oppression to make sense of my data. Through these themes, I answer my two central research questions: How did I navigate the video gaming culture as a student of critical pedagogy and in what ways do video games lend themselves to the teaching of critical pedagogy. Using a critical lens allows this study to deconstruct unexamined experiences that shape player identities. To answer my research questions, I use the concept of enchantment to capture the complexity of the stories I have grown up with, both the power I have drawn from them to build a sense of identity and my naïveté in overlooking, minimizing, or ignoring problematic and oppressive behaviors tied to these stories. I share how the wording of my experiences pushed me into adopting a new identity that reconciled my history as a video game player and my identity as a student of critical pedagogy. Through the deconstruction of my experiences, I also identified video gaming tools that lend themselves to the teaching of critical pedagogy. I share how these tools can be used in the classroom to help players/students question their own thinking, name their prejudice, and identify oppressive social systems. My study echoes Bochner’s concept of a story of “two selves,” a space that allowed me to better understand the culture I am part of and my role in it. My moving from an enchanted understanding to a continuous questioning of my engagement with a medium that holds a central place in my life constitutes an invitation to examine the stories we have all grown up with. In identifying both the power they have given us and the power they have over us, we can assess their impact and meaning, and therefore better understand ourselves.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2019
Auoethnography, Critical pedagogy, Identity, Video games
Video games $x Social aspects
Video games $x Psychological aspects
Video gamers $x Psychology
Identity (Psychology)
Critical pedagogy

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