Resistance and sexuality in virtual worlds: An LGBT perspective

Brad McKenna, Hameed Chughtai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)
4 Downloads (Pure)

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.
Original languageEnglish
Article number106199
JournalComputers in Human Behaviour
Volume105
Early online date15 Nov 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020

Keywords

  • Critical theory
  • Foucault
  • GENDER
  • IDENTITY
  • INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
  • INTERNET
  • LGBT
  • ONLINE
  • Oppressed communities
  • POLITICS
  • POWER
  • SOCIAL MEDIA
  • SUPPORT
  • Social movements
  • VICTIMIZATION
  • Virtual protest

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