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Learning in Video Game Affinity Spaces

Hayes, Elisabeth R. / Duncan, Sean C. (eds.)

Learning in Video Game Affinity Spaces

Series: New Literacies and Digital Epistemologies - Volume 51

Year of Publication: 2012

New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2012. VI, 254 pp., num. ill.
ISBN 978-1-4331-0983-6 pb.  (Softcover)
ISBN 978-1-4331-0984-3 hb.  (Hardcover)

Weight: 0.380 kg, 0.838 lbs

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Book synopsis

As video games have become an important economic and cultural force, scholars are increasingly trying to better understand the ways that engagement with games may drive learning, literacy, and social participation in the twenty-first century. In this book, the authors consider games and just as importantly, the social interactions around games, not in terms of how they should be managed or incorporated into existing educational structures, but for what they tell us about the forms of learning and literacy that are already instantiated within the use of these media. To this end, this book delves deeply into James Paul Gee’s (2004) productive and influential concept of the affinity space – the physical or virtual locations (or some combination of the two) where people come together around a shared interest or «affinity.» By explicating how and why engaged fans of digital media do what they do in online spaces, the authors cast a light, as Gee did, on the promise of these media and the problems facing current educational systems.


Contents: Sean C. Duncan /Elisabeth Hayes: Expanding the Affinity Space: An Introduction – Jayne C. Lammers: «Is the Hangout…The Hangout?» Exploring Tensions in an Online Gaming-Related Fan Site – Sean C. Duncan: Kongregating Online: Developing Design Literacies in a Play-Based Affinity Space – Shree Durga: Learning to Mod in an Affinity-Based Modding Community – Elizabeth M. King: The Productive Side of Playing in the Great Indoors – Christopher L. Holden: The Not-So-Secret Life of Dance Dance Revolution – Ben DeVane: Whither Membership? Identity and Social Learning in Affinity Spaces – Elisabeth Hayes/Yoonhee N. Lee: Specialist Language Acquisition and 3D Modding in a Sims Fan Site – Alecia Marie Magnifico: The Game of Neopian Writing – James Paul Gee: Afterword.

About the author(s)/editor(s)

Elisabeth R. Hayes is Professor of English at Arizona State University. Her research interests focus on how the social and cultural aspects of online gaming communities support learning, particularly the development of fluency with digital technology. Her recent books include Women and Gaming: The Sims and 21st Century Learning (2010) and Language and Learning in a Digital Age (2011), both co-authored with James Paul Gee.
Sean C. Duncan is the Armstrong Professor of Interactive Media, an Assistant Professor in Miami University's School of Education, Health, and Society and Armstrong Institute for Interactive Media Studies. His current research is focused on understanding the learning and literacy implications of online cultures around games and game design.


«This volume is a powerful empirical follow up on Gee’s notion of affinity spaces that asks us to move beyond the view of games as merely a designed object to the view of games as both designed object and emergent culture. What is so powerful about this collection of essays is the way in which they document how that combination - technology plus affinity group - enables and empowers truly transformative learning to take place. The authors in this volume represent the brightest young scholars in the field. Together, they offer us a much more nuanced and complex account for learning - one that is far more actionable because it is simply far more correct. This is a must-read for anyone interested in learning technologies in general.» (Constance Steinkuehler, University of Wisconsin-Madison)
«The chapter authors in this highly accessible text invite readers to use, expand, and critique current understandings of learning in affinity spaces. Though focused specifically on video game affinity spaces, findings from the eight research projects reported here have broad implications for how we view learning more generally, whether in school-defined literacy practices, online teacher education courses, or vastly different settings.» (Donna Alvermann, University of Georgia)


New Literacies and Digital Epistemologies. Vol. 51
General Editors: Colin Lankshear and Michele Knobel