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Using Membership Categorisation Analysis to Study Identity Creation in the Digital game Dota2
Södertörn University, School of Culture and Education.
2014 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

One aspect of the internet that has been discussed in relation to identity creation is whether we can transcend our physical selves when we enter an online environment, thus potentially creating the internet as a space where we could leave our bodies when performing our identity. The purpose of this master thesis is to investigate the accomplishment of membership categorization within the domain of online gaming and through it identity in an online gaming environment. This thesis argues that the discourse within Dota2 constructs the identity of the unsuccessful gamer as an outsider or deviant in terms of nationality, sexuality, and mental capability. Games of Dota2 have been observed and the interaction via the in game chat system has been transcribed and analyzed using Membership Categorization Analysis. The study found that membership was not commonly assigned but when it was, it was associated with the incumbent being on one’s own team and performing lower than expected. Also, in the cases where categories were assigned to players, these were assigned to unsuccessful players (This interactive feature is supported previous research by Eklund (2011) and Linderoth & Olsson (2010) in that they created the game as male centric western European space. The expectations of a successful player were not accomplished in order to inform the identity creation process of successful gamers. The results suggest that identity in Dota2 is structured around a players displayed skill and that the identity created is often based on stereotypes associated with certain nationalities, genders and mental capabilities. The use of MCA offered a holistic approach to how identities were created in online gaming that allowed the researcher to approach the subject without any preconceptions as to what would be found. The study also showed that the use of MCA may be useful when it comes to identity creation within virtual worlds.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. , 33 p.
Keyword [en]
Membership Categorisation Analysis, MCA, Dota2, Digital games, gaming, identity, identification
National Category
Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-28704OAI: diva2:867948
Subject / course
Social and Behavioural Science, Law
Available from: 2015-11-09 Created: 2015-11-08 Last updated: 2015-11-09Bibliographically approved

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