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Disrupting the Gender Order: Leveling Up and Claiming Space in an After-School Video Game Club

Jennifer Jenson, Stephanie Fisher, Suzanne de Castell


This paper provides an overview of the persisting inequitable experiences, conditions and attributions that have thus far defined and delimited what and how girls play. Breaking away from previous research that sought to catalogue ‘gender differences’, but really only conflated facts about gender with facts about relative skill level, this article reports on the observed play patterns, pleasures and preferences of girls and boys who were at the same skill level. We argue that if there is to be some hope of changing these de-limited and limiting repetitions in gender and gaming research, it is probably as much or more through technical innovation than through ideological transformation. Strategic interventionist research practice makes possible structurally divergent directions for play that might in time destabilize the resilient ideological containment-field of theory, practice, research and development concerning girls and gaming.


gender; gameplay; education; technology; ethnography

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