My talk at Koc University

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I’ll be in Istanbul next week to give a talk on griefing and virtual governance at the Department of Media and Visual Arts (MAVA) at Koc University, Istanbul. I am so very excited. For those of you who are on the other side of the pond, come and say hi! I am hereby extending the invitation to the entire Interwebs… It is on March 26th, 14:00PM-15:30PM at room SOS 143.

Abstract:

Internet… It is serious business:
What mayhem could teach us about virtual governance

This talk will examine the disruptive behaviors that take place inside of virtual worlds. Once considered to be a niche pastime enjoyed by a few geeks, computer-generated worlds like World of Warcraft, Second Life, Minecraft, and EVE Online are increasingly becoming important sites of social interaction. Virtual worlds participants engage not just in gaming, but also in daily activities like shopping, workplace training, socialization, and even dating, among other things. Despite their quasi-public feel for some of its users, virtual worlds are proprietary spaces, owned by private companies. Therefore, its participants are subject to governance of these entities who are not publicly elected, yet assume the role of governance. This talk examines the role of griefing, a catch-all term that comprises a range of disruptive activities, in exposing the tensions that arise in these worlds which are frequently treated as public spaces by its participants, yet are dictated by private interests. As such, griefing could be framed as a tactical strategy that bears the potential to yield trangressive politics that offer a biting critique of the corporatization of the Internet.

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