Answering the call of duty: popular geopolitics and playing virtual war

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Despite a growing interest in the way the media and popular culture shape geopolitical identities and subjectivities, current scholarship has overlooked the spaces, practices and experiences in which geopolitical sensibilities are made meaningful in everyday life. Whilst previous scholarship considers popular consumption as an interpretative act, this paper considers the ludic –or playful– encounter of geopolitical consumption, noting the social, material, and spatial contexts in which popular geopolitics is encountered. In making this case the paper draws attention to military-themed videogames and in particular the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare series, as an important everyday cultural artefact that shapes popular understanding of geopolitics. Methodologically the paper draws on 32 interviews and the collection of video ethnographic data, to reveal the everyday happenings of playing virtual war. In doing so, the talk will explore more specifically the emergent socio-spatial and technological relations that are constitutive of everyday popular understandings of geopolitics.

OxDeg Series Michaelmas 2018

Seminar Room, 1 St Giles

3.15pm, Fridays (Weeks 4, 6, 8)

Convened by William Kelly