Call: The Online Videogame: New Space for Socialization colloquium



Bilingual colloquium (French/English)

October 28 , 29  and 30, 2010
Montreal, Quebec, Canada

To play is a vital function for the development of individuals. Play is an activity of socialization which enables learning of the rudiments of social interaction. Since the middle of the twentieth century, our societies have placed more value on the playful practice at all ages. As such, playing is more and more present in numerous spheres of society. Huizinga (1938) and Caillois (1958) assert moreover that any playful activity is social, by definition, and gets its real meaning when it is practised in groups. For Gadamer (1960), the charm of playing lies primarily in the fact that it exercises a fascination in the player. Online videogames gather more and more followers worldwide as this phenomenon becomes more important from day to day. It is no longer necessary to question play as a way to spend time. Through the intervention of videogames, play has also become a way to develop social networks, learn new communication skills and tools, a way to learn a foreign language, a place to keep or develop friendships, an opportunity to participate in an online community, or even a way to be exposed to new cultures. Online videogames have become a media of socialization, that is to say, devices of mediation and mediatization which allow people to share large-scale information thanks to its network of exchanges and meetings. Such spaces of socialization arouse interactions convenient to the construction of the “self” and to the renewal of the representations of others and the world. Online videogames can facilitate socialization and be a carrier of values which are not necessarily different than those found in society. Online videogames can also be a place that facilitate values that are not necessarily present in society in general.

Indeed, the experience as much as the manners and representations in videogames contribute to the moulding of cognitive modes, to the development of both technical and social skills and, in a more general way, to the reconfiguration of one’s relationship to the world. From this perspective, it is imperative to explore the modes of socialization shaped by online videogames and to question the various forms of instrumentalization, of domination, of exclusion, as well as forms of dependence and addiction which this kind of community can facilitate. The criteria from which the players give a value and organize their relations into a hierarchy with other players is potentially defined by the customs and contexts of online videogames. The observations, the descriptions, and the analysis of the manners and representations that are connected to the experience of online videogames become essential as a generation is subject to building their social referents partially through playful cyber universes. This type of study is justified all the more as players become imbedded in innovative modes of socialization, rehabilitation, social reintegration, and learning, not only in school and at home, but also in their workplace. This colloquium aims to make inventory of the researches within game studies, while online videogames are becoming more and more popular.

Topics may include (but are not limited to) the following themes:

  • Forms of socialization in online videogames
  • Communicational stakes in online videogames
  • Questions of ethics and aesthetics in online videogames
  • Innovations and types of appropriation in online videogames
  • Questions of law, economy, and politics in online videogames
  • Design of games and the communications tools in online videogames
  • Therapeutic and educational customs in online videogames

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES: The persons interested to participate in this colloquium have to submit an abstract treating of the higher presented theme (max. 3000 characters, included spaces), as well as a short biographic note. Abstracts should be sent to:


Abstract deadline:  April 28, 2010
Notification of Acceptance:  May 17, 2010
Full Paper deadline:  August 27, 2010
Colloquium dates:  October 28, 29 and 30, 2010

INVITED SPEAKERS: Mia Consalvo, PhD; Nicolas Ducheneaut, PhD; Sébastien Genvo, PhD; Miguel Sicart, PhD; Bart Simon, PhD; T.L. Taylor, PhD.

ORGANIZING COMMITTEE: The colloquium is organized by the research group Homo Ludens (Université du Québec à Montréal), with the collaboration of Technoculture, Art and Games (Concordia University)

Charles Perraton, professor at the Department of social and public communication (Université du Québec à Montréal)

Magda Fusaro, professor at the Department of management and technology (Université du Québec à Montréal)

Coordination: Maude Bonenfant, postdoctoral researcher, Technoculture, Art and Gaming (Concordia University)

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