Sunday, September 27, 2009

Child Gamer Paper Published

I'm very pleased to announce the recent publication of an article I co-authored with Neil Narine, which appears in the latest issue of Communication, Culture and Critique. The article, entitled "The Turbulent Rise of the "Child Gamer": Public Fears and Corporate Promises in Cinematic and Promotional Depictions of Children's Digital Play," explores the ways in which child gamers have been depicted and mobilized within popular and public discourses since the introduction of home gaming systems in the late 1970s. We focus specifically on the ways in which moral panics and celebratory discourses about kids and gaming (which are inherently linked to discourses about kids and information technologies) resurface again and again within various cultural texts, from television ads, to magazine covers, to Hollywood film. Here's the abstract:
This paper examines depictions of the "cyberchild," and the child at risk in Hollywood films and television advertisements portraying children's digital gaming. We examine fears of digital play and adjoining hopes for its conversion into a "productive" and educational practice. We find evidence of a stiflingly polarized conflict over children's digital gaming: young gamers are either delinquent and violent, or naturally adept "cyberchildren" with bright futures as information workers. We propose three reasons why this polarity remains unresolved, detail how issues of gender and class are sidelined, and suggest that cinematic and promotional depictions have both helped shape and reflect grossly exaggerated characterizations of the child gamer.

The project started out as a conference paper, which we presented at the PCA and CSA back in 2006, and which we then elaborated and refined in response to some of the great feedback we received from conference attendees, colleagues (a special thanks in that regard to Helen Kennedy and Graeme Kirkpatrick for their early support and comments), and peer reviewers. An enormous thanks to Karen Ross, Jane Wynn and Jane Anderson at Communication, Culture and Critique for agreeing to publish this piece and for making the entire process such a pleasant and expedient experience.

Full citation for the piece is: Narine, N and S.M. Grimes (2009) "The Turbulent Rise of the "Child Gamer": Public Fears and Corporate Promises in Cinematic and Promotional Depictions of Children's Digital Play." Communication, Culture & Critique, Volume 2 Issue 3, pp. 319-338.


derek munson said...

that sounds like a great paper!

in my work as a creative writing teacher, one of the most popular exercises i've done is having kids design video games. when kids make the connection that games are interactive stories (complete with main characters, goals, problems, etc.) they start to have positive associations with the writing process. and it's always interesting, because this exercise always reaches kids that are otherwise not interested in what i am talking about... :)
anyway, thanks for your post. i'm looking forward to reading the paper.

Sara M. Grimes said...

thanks derek! and i'd love to hear more about your experiences using game design exercises as a teaching tool.

Shaping Youth said...

Can't wait to read it Sara, congrats on finishing...huge task! I have a 'student paper' from a Sr on sexualization of childhood I'm thinking of posting some blurbs from, and then I'll be back to pick up the rest of the roundup posts! ;-)

p.s. do you have a logo you'd like me to use for Gamine Expedition?

Sara M. Grimes said...

Thanks Amy - let me know if you need a copy of it, as many libraries seem to have an embargo period on this particular journal.