Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A Burkean analysis of “World of Warcraft”: Identity work in a virtual environment
by Boone, George William, M.A., Villanova University, 2008, 147; 1454169
Abstract (Summary)

Video games, particularly ones which occur over Internet connections, produce large amounts of revenue for the developers. The purpose of this thesis is to examine how players come to understand themselves in the virtual world offered by Blizzard Entertainment's World of Warcraft ( WoW). By applying the rhetorical scholarship of Kenneth Burke, WoW is understood as a constitutive artifact that provides a terminological foundation for identity negotiation. Players are invited into a symbol system that allows for a heroic sense of self through violent imagery. WoW , although providing players with an escape from existential anxiety, fails to liberate players from the pressures of performing social roles and societal expectations. In closing, this thesis advocates for symbolic maturity, where players reflect upon the ways symbol systems in video games provide frameworks for understanding identity and its inherent paradoxes.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Crable, Bryan
Commitee: Coonfield, Gordon, Mackey-Kallis, Susan
School: Villanova University
Department: Communication
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: MAI 47/01M, Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Communication, Rhetoric, Composition, Recreation
Keywords: Burke, Kenneth
Publication Number: 1454169
ISBN: 978-0-549-62944-3
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