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Digital Media

Transformations in Human Communication

Paul Messaris and Lee Humphreys

The age of digital media has given rise to a new social world. It is a world in which the transmission of information from the few to the many is steadily being supplanted by the multi-directional flow of facts, lies, and ideas. It is a world in which hundreds of millions of people are voluntarily depositing large amounts of personal details in publicly accessible databases. It is a world in which interpersonal relationships are increasingly being conducted in the virtual sphere. Above all, this is a world that seems to be veering off in unpredictable ways from the trends of the immediate past. This book is a probing examination of that world, and of the changes that it has ushered into our lives.

In more than thirty essays by a wide range of scholars, this must-have second edition examines the impact of digital media in six areas – information, persuasion, community, gender and sexuality, surveillance and privacy, and cross-cultural communication – and offers an invaluable guide for students and scholars alike. With one exception, all essays are completely new or revised for this volume.

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Chapter 29: Video Games for the Promotion of Positive Attitudes toward Cultural Diversity and Social Integration (Vivian Hsueh Hua Chen)

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CHAPTER 29

Video Games for the Promotion of Positive Attitudes toward Cultural Diversity and Social Integration

Vivian Hsueh Hua Chen

As globalization becomes pervasive and the increasing global mobility of human capital in the labor market, many countries around the world face challenges to understand and manage cultural differences. A lot of effort has been put into establishing policies that guarantee fair distribution of resources and equal representation of each group in the public sphere. The increased diverse population and frequent contact with culturally different others is not always accompanied by the same level of rising social acceptance of minority groups. Majority groups within each country tend to have a strong tendency to maintain their own culture and privileges. As a result, minority groups such as migrant workers, refugees, persons with low social economic status or disabilities often face social exclusion and prejudices. Social exclusion is “very expensive, economically counterproductive and lays a heavy social and political burden on society” (Bianchi et al., 2006, p. 23). As such, diversity management within any given society is imperative in this global age, both scholarly and pragmatically. Research has shown that the use of (new) media, especially digital games, can train individuals’ empathetic ability and facilitate social inclusion. Therefore, this chapter discusses an innovative approach for diversity management through digital gameplay.

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