Researchers game for a team effort on violence

Credit: Thinkstock

Credit: Thinkstock

Finding the common ground between those who think media violence harms some people, sometimes, and those who believe that both this violence and the people who enjoy it are misunderstood, will be the focus of a public seminar next week. 

Monash University researcher Dr Andy Ruddock from the School of English, Communications and Performance Studies and Brendan Keogh from the School of Media and Communication at RMIT will take the stage at the Research Unit in Media Studies (RUMS) seminar on Monday 10 June to discuss how better collaboration between media effects and game studies researchers may improve understanding of the effects of gaming and violence. 

Dr Ruddock said people who researched the effects of games and violence were often thought to be hostile to people who enjoyed playing the games. 

“It is true that effects researchers don’t spend enough time thinking about why people like playing violent games, and how it might have a number of positive social effects,” Dr Ruddock said. 

“On the other hand, I think it’s also true that, when it comes to controversies over the role of video game violence in society, effects researchers aren’t ‘the enemy’ for gamers. There’s a lot that gamers and effects researchers agree on, and I think that, like gamers, effects researchers are often misrepresented in these controversies.” 

Mr Keogh, a game critic and scholar, said there was concern that effects research often reduced videogames to functions – how many times you kill people, how many points you get – and did not acknowledge them as just another cultural form with which players had emotional, textual and cultural engagements. 

“Videogames are more than just mechanical actions and videogame players and scholars alike need to be literate in videogame aesthetics — while not being apologetic for the many problematic themes that still undeniably permeate a lot of videogames and their surrounding culture,” Mr Keogh said. 

Both researchers hope the seminar will move the debate on by focusing on the points of agreement between the two camps, and asking how the research agenda on gaming and violence might change with these points of convergence in mind. 

Dr Ruddock is the author of Youth and MediaInvestigating Audiences  and Understanding Audiences (all published by Sage). His essays on Cultivation Analysis and Cultural Studies have been published in a number of anthologies, including Morgan, Shanahan and Signorielli’s Living with Television Now (Peter Lang)

Brendan Keogh is a PhD candidate at RMIT whose research is concerned primarily with how we experience and understand videogame play. He is the author of Killing is Harmless (Stolen Projects) and a freelance videogame critic for a variety of Australian and international outlets. 

Dr Andy Ruddock and Brendan Keogh will discuss Effects Researchers Vs Games Studies: Getting Beyond Conventional Divisions in Gaming Debates on Monday 10 June in Room 2.26, Building T, Monash University Caulfield campus between 3 – 4.30pm. It is part of RUMS’ 2013 Seminar Series. 

For more information contact Associate Professor Brett Hutchins on 03 9903 2098 or Brett.Hutchins@monash.edu.

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