How geek kids get geek jobs: a cross-generational inquiry into digital play and young adults' careers in IT Joe Baxter-Webb - 2015


Support : Références scientifiques
Author(s) : Joe Baxter-Webb
Editor : Canterbury Christ Church University
Date : 2015
Lang : Lang


From programming ‗home-brew‘ games, to modifying the content of existing commercial titles, digital gaming can be regarded as a potential gateway into more serious uses of computers; welcoming some while repelling others. The socio-demographic makeup of computer science, games development and related areas of work are of interest to feminist scholars of culture. In light of skills shortages, industry is also interested in increasing women and ethnic minorities‘ participation in STEM fields. Representational inequalities within tech are regarded as a social issue not just because this area of employment can be highly lucrative, but also because control over tech can provide other forms of empowerment - including being able to influence and shape everyday communication technologies. However, the route into these industries has historically been shaped by a number of factors including formal computing education, the rise of hobbyist computing and a surrounding masculine 'geek' culture - and a sort of reciprocal relationship between hobbyist computing and digital games. This thesis interrogates the idea of games as a form of ‗technological enculturation‘; the notion of a causal link between gaming and careers in computing. I take the biographies of those working in the IT sector in southeast England and explore the role of gaming in the personal histories of what appears to be a predominantly white and male group. The thesis pays great attention to salient differences between technological platforms – something relatively underdeveloped in the existing literature on player cultures and in game studies more generally. Finally, I take a cross-generational perspective by comparing the experiences of adult IT workers with a cohort of teenage ICT students. Using a theoretical framework adapted from leisure studies and the sociology of Pierre Bourdieu, I explore how certain types of game-related activity – but not all gaming – are particularly conducive to producing young people who are a good ‗cultural fit‘ for this particular set of professions. This has implications for how we think and talk about increasing participation in STEM, as well as the somewhat under-developed role of games and game-making in UK schools. 
References (1):
Djaouti, D., Alvarez, J. & Jessel, J., 2010. Can Gaming 2.0 help design Serious Games?: a comparative study. Proceedings of the 5th ACM SIGGRAPH Symposium on Video Games.  

Keywords : Games