A Player's Web of Significance

Below you can read the abstract of my paper to be presented at the 8th International Crossroads in Cultural Studies Conference in Hong Kong, June 17-21, 2010 


This paper is about a narrative of an agent in a complex web of significance or, in other words, a person in a culture. The culture in question is online poker and the agent, or the person, is my key informant who is a civil servant, a family man and a semi-professional poker player with whom I will practice participant observation and whose in-depth interviews will bring precious detail in the cultural context. I will attempt to provide a refined (or high in semantic resolution) presentation of how the player negotiates his role in the online and offline cultures, how he relates himself to the stereotypes and hegemonic discourses of poker culture and how he negotiates his virtual space in the physical world. The study is microethnographical in the sense that although it adds to a holistic description of a culture by concentrating on one person's involvement in the culture.


Update May 18, 2010: I had to cancel Hong Kong, so I will propose the final manuscript to be published in Next Generation edition of Fast Capitalism. This is how they describe their policy.

Fast Capitalism is an academic journal with a political intent. We publish reviewed scholarship and essays about the impact of rapid information and communication technologies on self, society and culture in the 21st century. We do not pretend an absolute objectivity; the work we publish is written from the vantages of viewpoint. Our authors examine how heretofore distinct social institutions, such as work and family, education and entertainment, have blurred to the point of near identity in an accelerated, post-Fordist stage of capitalism. [Read the rest.]


Current research: about a serious game

Here's some information on and links to two article mansucript I am proposing to be published. One is titled "A serious game: The imagery of advertisements in Poker Magazine Finland reflecting gender in online poker culture" and it is for International Journal of E-Politics 1 (2). Here's the abstract:
This article analyzes the ways in which gender is represented through an examination of online poker advertisements, specifically the 2009 volume of Poker Magazine Finland. In a typical advertisement, a male poker champion endorses the game in a carefully staged, dark and serious atmosphere connoting a battle-like quality to the game. In advertisements where women or non-professional poker players are portrayed, the mood is less serious. Male poker champions smile in carefully staged advertisements only when they are shown to be winning or when the context is explicitly comical. In analyzing these advertisements, Katharine Frith’s tripartite approach is applied. Inspired by the findings of the analysis, the engendered subculture of online poker and gender in media in general are discussed.
The other one is written in Finnish and is proposed for Pelitutkimuksen vuosikirja 2010 (the yearbook of gaming research) in Finland.  Its title translates "On the reality of a postmodern gaming man: media-ethnographical notes on poker culture", or in Finnish "Postmodernin pelimiehen todellisuudesta: Mediaetnografisia huomioita pokerikulttuurista". Here's the English summary.
The article is based on the preliminary results of an anthropological research project focusing on poker culture as well as the media ethnographical observations within the project. The project concentrates on the phenomenology of poker in online and offline worlds. Supported by the theories of postmodern cultural studies, the article presents some observations of the advetising, masculinity and meaning of money related to poker. Moreover, the mode of existence of the representations of poker culture are commented by referring to the concept of hyperreal, among others.

Again, all comments are welcomed!