Politicization of the On-Line Worlds as a Problematic of a Private Space Publicized: Comparative Study of MMORPG and Second Life

23 Pages Posted: 18 Jan 2009

See all articles by Olivier Mauco

Olivier Mauco

Center for Research in Political Studies

Date Written: January 17, 2009


Virtual worlds constitutes new spaces where millions of users meet to discuss or play, like the videogame World of Warcraft. (8 million subscribers). These universes are distinguished from chats, forum, blog; instantaneousness and interactivity are the main values, with miscellaneous expression forms: writing, speaking, graphical art creation, and video broadcast, even political space buildings.

Editors present these leisure places as non-political worlds, according to the user agreement, but according to users appropriation we can observe politicization attempts through multiples ways: fleeting political speech act (two players discussing, public speech), community life activism, political parties' institutionalization. Nevertheless speeches and acts plurality traduce a real-life preoccupations contamination, focused on social and political problematic. Then, on-line political discussions appear clearly in electoral periods, some French political parties as Front National and Parti Socialiste have set up general quarter in the persistent world Second Life. According to the previous paradox of politicization of explicit non political worlds, we will expose investigation methods through on-line world (participating observation, interviews, content analysis) then we will try to reveal structural divergences between a game and a persistent world. Our first results will be focused on political discussion modes (hard talks, short-time period, solipsism and self representation) that will lead us to a typology of different politicization ways.

So this analysis would focus on criticizing Jongen Habermas or Richard Sennett public space theories, especially dealing with dichotomy between private and public sphere. Because of individualization process, communication ideology and game norms industrialized, MMOG as a private space which is publicized differs from traditional form.

Keywords: MMO, public space, ideology, politics, politicization, videogames

Suggested Citation

Mauco, Olivier, Politicization of the On-Line Worlds as a Problematic of a Private Space Publicized: Comparative Study of MMORPG and Second Life (January 17, 2009). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1329345 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1329345

Olivier Mauco (Contact Author)

Center for Research in Political Studies ( email )

17, rue de la Sorbonne
Paris, IL 75005

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