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2023/24 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

SLSP5380M Videogames and Society

30 creditsClass Size: 60

Module manager: Dr Ben Hirst

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

Drawing on some of the most exciting and interesting contemporary research from within the fields of sociology, game studies, political science, and media and communication studies we explore the wide-range of issues that have emerged around the medium of videogames, and ask what these tell us about the world we inhabit. From American malls in the 1980s to internet caf├ęs in modern China, we explore the diverse ways that people from across the globe engage with videogames. We look at how videogames are significant mediators in the shaping of selfhood, forming the basis of friendships, communities and livelihoods. In recognising that videogames act as powerful sites of political, artistic and moral experimentation, we therefore consider the complex social dynamics embedded within a wide-range of videogames. Whilst we will be address the contents of some specific videogames, students on this module do not necessarily need to have prior experience of playing videogames. Nevertheless, an openness and enthusiasm about this rich topic of study is desirable.


The objective of the module is to equip students with a strong grasp of a wide-range of perspectives in the theoretical, historical and empirical study of videogames. Through examining the available literature, we explore how people play games, and the contexts in which play unfolds. In doing so, we aim to instil a critical, scholarly disposition towards the study of videogames.

Learning outcomes
1. possess a grounding in theoretical and empirical studies of videogames
2. display mastery of core debates on the societal impact of videogames
3. evaluate scholarly material on videogames
4. synthesise arguments and evidence to demonstrate the societal impact of videogames


Over the course of this module, we will: aim to evaluate and understand the moral effects of videogame play, explore the emergence of eSports entertainment and videogame live streaming, critically address the representation of violence and conflict in videogames, consider the legacy of such events as #Gamergate within and beyond the world of videogames, and understand some of the ongoing conversations on the difficult relationship between work and play experienced by those within the videogame industry. In doing so, we aim to connect the particular experience of videogame play to broader social processes and tendencies that will be familiar to students on the MA Society, Culture and Media, including post/modernity and globalisation. Throughout we will consider who plays videogames, and how people play videogames, as well as engage with the significant challenges that have been raised to traditional definitions of 'gamers' from the perspectives of race, gender and disability studies.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
On-line Learning111.0011.00
Private study hours264.00
Total Contact hours36.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)300.00

Private study

Preparation for lectures, seminars and assessment.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

There is no formative assessment for this module. However, opportunities for formative feedback and the monitoring of student progress will be through seminar preparation and participation and attendance at open doors hours.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay4,000 words100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 26/07/2023 13:26:02


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