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Who are the enemies? the visual framing of enemies in digital games

Valeriano, Brandon and Habel, Philip 2016. Who are the enemies? the visual framing of enemies in digital games. International Studies Review 18 (3) , pp. 462-486. 10.1093/isr/viv007

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Digital games are among the most popular forms of entertainment media. Despite their ubiquity, the fields of political science, International Relations, and political communication have generally overlooked the study of digital games. We take up this void by examining the international enemies depicted in combat games – specifically, first-person shooter (FPS) games – which can speak to the process in the construction of international threats in society. Our review of framing the enemy gleans perspectives from multiple disciplines including International Relations, political communication, and digital gaming. Our empirical analysis traces the evolution of images in digital games from 2001 to 2013 to reveal the identity of the enemies and protagonists and to examine the context of the game – including the setting where each game takes place. We find that Russians are a popular form of enemy in FPS games even after considering terrorists as a broad category. Our review of the literature and our empirical analysis together present a foundation for the future study of digital games as a process of framing of enemies and transmission of threats.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Law
Uncontrolled Keywords: digital games, video games, lead, construction of the enemy, rivalry, popular culture, IR
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISSN: 1521-9488
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 2 May 2016
Date of Acceptance: 7 July 2015
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2023 13:44

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