When the Inmates Run the Asylum: Grief Play in the Virtual Panopticon of Second Life

23 Pages Posted: 30 Sep 2014 Last revised: 8 Jan 2016

See all articles by Burcu Bakioglu

Burcu Bakioglu

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: September 30, 2014

Abstract

In this article I sketch out how governance is negotiated through grief play in virtual worlds particularly when peer surveillance is involved. Characterizing virtual worlds as having legal pluralism determined by different stakeholders whose interests may or may not align, I argue that surveillance exists in a decentralized form which leads to the establishment of data powerhouses at the hands of unauthorized persons or groups. Using Second Life as an example, I demonstrate how these practices result in power asymmetries and abuses that allow player groups to gather intelligence for the purpose of gaining power in-world, thereby exacerbating conflict among player groups. It is in this political climate that griefing in Second Life developed from a set of practices including irreverent language and dicey pranks into a tactic used to negotiate power.

Keywords: grief play; surveillance; governance; second life; hacktivism; leaking operations

Suggested Citation

Bakioglu, Burcu, When the Inmates Run the Asylum: Grief Play in the Virtual Panopticon of Second Life (September 30, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2503384 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2503384

Burcu Bakioglu (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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