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Resistance and sexuality in virtual worlds: an LGBT perspective

Resistance and sexuality in virtual worlds: an LGBT perspective
Resistance and sexuality in virtual worlds: an LGBT perspective
Virtual worlds can provide a safe place for social movements of marginal and oppressed groups such as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT). When the virtual safe places are under threat, the inhabitants of a virtual world register protests, which have critical implications for the real-world issues. The nature of emancipatory practices such as virtual protests in the digital realm research remains somewhat under-explored. Specifically, it remains to be seen how the oppressed communities such as LGBT take radical actions in virtual worlds in order to restore the imbalance of power. We conducted a 35-month netnographic study of an LGBT social movement in World of Warcraft. The lead researcher joined the LGBT social movement and data was captured through participant observations, discussion forums, and chat logs. Drawing on the critical theory of Michel Foucault, we present empirical evidence that illuminates emancipatory social movement practices in an online virtual world. The findings suggest that there are complex power relations in a virtual world and, when power balance is disrupted, LGBT players form complex ways to register protests, which invoke strategies to restore order in the virtual fields.
Critical Theory, Foucault, LGBT, Oppressed Communities, Social Movements, Virtual Protest
0747-5632
1-11
McKenna, Brad
9a2ca678-ba60-48fe-9755-6f4daa127661
Chughtai, Hameed
e8600973-9db8-4649-be67-def5f2a83a72
McKenna, Brad
9a2ca678-ba60-48fe-9755-6f4daa127661
Chughtai, Hameed
e8600973-9db8-4649-be67-def5f2a83a72

McKenna, Brad and Chughtai, Hameed (2020) Resistance and sexuality in virtual worlds: an LGBT perspective. Computers in Human Behavior, 105, 1-11, [106199]. (doi:10.1016/j.chb.2019.106199).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Virtual worlds can provide a safe place for social movements of marginal and oppressed groups such as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT). When the virtual safe places are under threat, the inhabitants of a virtual world register protests, which have critical implications for the real-world issues. The nature of emancipatory practices such as virtual protests in the digital realm research remains somewhat under-explored. Specifically, it remains to be seen how the oppressed communities such as LGBT take radical actions in virtual worlds in order to restore the imbalance of power. We conducted a 35-month netnographic study of an LGBT social movement in World of Warcraft. The lead researcher joined the LGBT social movement and data was captured through participant observations, discussion forums, and chat logs. Drawing on the critical theory of Michel Foucault, we present empirical evidence that illuminates emancipatory social movement practices in an online virtual world. The findings suggest that there are complex power relations in a virtual world and, when power balance is disrupted, LGBT players form complex ways to register protests, which invoke strategies to restore order in the virtual fields.

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1-s2.0-S0747563219304194-main (pre-proof) - Accepted Manuscript
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Accepted/In Press date: 15 November 2019
e-pub ahead of print date: 15 November 2019
Published date: April 2020
Keywords: Critical Theory, Foucault, LGBT, Oppressed Communities, Social Movements, Virtual Protest

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 435947
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/435947
ISSN: 0747-5632
PURE UUID: 66508c78-8231-4537-a2d9-cc254f294feb
ORCID for Hameed Chughtai: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-6272-2250

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 25 Nov 2019 17:30
Last modified: 28 Apr 2022 04:13

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Contributors

Author: Brad McKenna
Author: Hameed Chughtai ORCID iD

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