Gamers in Society, Play in Culture

Call for papers

The social aspects of digital gaming are gaining increasing attention by academics, game developers and media alike. Popular controversy on the supposedly detrimental effects of games are countered by growing attention to the social value and cultural significance that contemporary games present to their players. New research is probing the precise roles games and playing occupy in the lives of various groups and individuals, producing interesting data about the multiple domains of life within information technology saturated societies. Simultaneously this kind of socio-cultural studies of game players require novel approaches into existing theories and methodologies in human sciences, informed by dialogue within the emerging field of game studies.

Gamers in Society seminar invites presentations on this multidisciplinary and dynamic field; the seminar is third in the annual series of game studies working seminars organised by the Games Research Lab in the University of Tampere. The list of possible presentation topics includes, but is not limited to:

  • ethnographic studies of particular groups of game players
  • studies about social networks or communities created around, or within games
  • research into the social roles and dynamics within such game communities
    inquiries into the everyday uses and social significance of games
  • studies into issues related with status, value and social norms that govern the position of games and gamers within the wider context of contemporary society
  • demographic studies mapping the time, money or other investments into games by various parts of the population
  • studies discussing the concept of game culture, or applying cultural and social approach into game studies

Due to the work-in-progress emphasis, we strongly encourage submitting late breaking results, working papers and/or submissions from graduate students. Early considerations from projects currently in progress are most welcome, as the purpose of the seminar is to have peer-to-peer discussions and thereby provide support in refining and improving research work in this area. After the seminar, a printed publication may be edited from the final versions of the selected papers of the seminar, or they might be published within an electronic repository such as the DiGRA digital library. However, all such publication plans are finally subject to discussions and agreement among the seminar participants.

The papers to be presented will be chosen based on abstract review. Full papers are submitted prior the event to all participants, in order to facilitate discussion.

The two-day event consists of themed sessions that aim to introduce current research projects and discuss ongoing work in social and cultural study of players. The seminar will be chaired by professor Frans Mäyrä (Hypermedia Laboratory, University of Tampere). Paper commentators include associate professor T.L. Taylor, the author of Play Between Worlds: Exploring Online Game Culture (The MIT Press, 2006), and Dr Daniel Pargman, Senior Lecturer at KTH / NADA / Media Technology.

The seminar will be held in Tampere, Finland and will be free of charge; the number of participants will be restricted.

Important Dates
Abstract Deadline January 22nd, 2007
Notification of Acceptance January 30, 2007
Full Paper March 31, 2007
Seminar April 17-18, 2007

Submission Guidelines
Abstract submissions should range from 800 to 1.000 words + references. Abstracts should be send to info-gamestudies{at} as plain text only (no attachments). Guidelines for submitting a full seminar paper will be provided with the notification of acceptance.

As the seminar is intended as a relatively informal forum for discussion, no strict length restrictions apply for the full papers; the scope of the papers may vary from 3.000 to 8.000 words. If the selected works are published after the seminar, further guidelines will be provided in the editorial process.

The presentations held at the seminar should also encourage discussion, instead of only repeating the information presented in the papers. Tentatively every paper will be presented for 10 minutes and discussed for 20 minutes.