Accepted Paper:

Dungeon mums and drag queens: personhood in Sydney's queer gaming communities  
Jacob Grice (University of Sydney)

Paper short abstract:

I intend to tell the stories of queer gamers in Sydney and come to a greater understanding of the ways technologically saturated young adults socialise. I will do this by drawing parallels between anthropological ideas of multiple personhoods and the way that gamers articulate numerous identities.

Paper long abstract:

I am conducting participant observation and intend on producing a somewhat auto-ethnographical account of Sydney's queer gaming communities. The gaming public at large is pervaded by hegemonic masculinity and queer-phobia and as such I view these queer gaming communities as counter-publics (Shaw & Ruberg 2017). This means that queer gamers employ a multitude of techniques to carve out a space for themselves.

Being 6 months into fieldwork, I have some preliminary findings concerning the enactment of personhood within these communities. Queer gamers often enact a form of personhood that is consciously and explicitly relational. This seems to reject the neoliberal model of the 'individual' and instead can be understood through the lens of Strathern's 'dividual' (1988).

I contend that through their gameplay and interactions with one another, my participants, generate a 'composite personhood' which contains numerous, sometimes conflicting identities. However, it is within these contradictions that they create their own paths towards adulthood. The way they embrace irony and failure to communicate their anxieties about not being a 'proper adult' is an important avenue of investigation and is my current focus for the remainder of the fieldwork.

Shaw, A. & Ruberg, B. (2017) "Introduction: Imagining Queer Game Studies", In Queer Game Studies, edited by Shaw, A. & Ruberg, B. Ix-Xxxiv. Minneapolis; London: University of Minnesota Press.

Strathern, M. (1988) "The Gender of the Gift: Problems with Women and Problems with Society in Melanesia", California: University of California Press.

Panel P05
ANSA postgraduate panel