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Att äta digitala djur: Spel, våld och ideologi
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Language, Literature and Intercultural Studies. (KuFo)
2015 (Swedish)In: Tidskrift för litteraturvetenskap, ISSN 1104-0556, E-ISSN 2001-094X, no 4, 29-41 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The article aims at studying game violence from an “awry” perspective, i.e. in terms of how games deal with the violence against animals inherent in processes of producing and consuming meat. Rockstar’s notorious Manhunt (2003) is taken as an initial example of how violence in games is usually dealt with. I argue that the focus on gruesome imagery serves an ideological function by hiding the real material violence of the game industry. As an alternative, I suggest that we focus on how games make visible systemic, yet less palpable, forms of ideological violence. My main focus is on how three contemporary open-world games represent the relation between eating meat and the industrial killing of animals.

          Three basic conceptual perspectives are combined: Slavoj Žižek’s distinction between subjective and objective violence; Melanie Joy’s conceptualization of cultural carnism as a cognitive scheme; and Ian Bogost’s procedural-rhetorical approach to videogames as models of material processes. These are employed in order to analyze three games taking a varied approach to the representation of meat as food: Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (2004), which includes a discursive critique of factory farming without also implementing it as a gameplay mechanic; Lionhead’s Fable II (2008), which implements ethical and political incentives for vegetarianism in the core mechanics of the game, yet allows for varied approaches in role-playing; and Maxis’ The Sims 3 (2009), which seems to include such incentives yet undermines them by dislodging food from its material origin in its model of the game world.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. no 4, 29-41 p.
Keyword [en]
game studies, animal studies, food studies, meat, carnism, Manhunt, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Fable II, The Sims 3
National Category
General Literature Studies
Research subject
Comparative Literature
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-40736OAI: diva2:907571
Available from: 2016-02-29 Created: 2016-02-29 Last updated: 2016-02-29

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