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Bourdieu and Data Analysis

Methodological Principles and Practice

Edited By Michael Grenfell and Frédéric Lebaron

Uniquely amongst the numerous publications to appear on the work of the French social theorist Pierre Bourdieu, this book deals with data analysis, examining a range of techniques and instruments. After an introductory chapter outlining the key principles of Bourdieu’s theory, the book presents detailed examples of data being collected and analysed in a Bourdieusian way across various social science contexts. Both qualitative and quantitative methods are addressed, including analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of each method, as are common data collection procedures such as interview, observation and questionnaire. Examples of Multiple Correspondence Analysis are an important feature of the book, since this was an approach particularly favoured by Bourdieu. In each case study, the pros and cons of different approaches are highlighted and the qualitative/quantitative debate is thoroughly explored. Overall, the book offers readers a blueprint to develop their own methodological plans for using Bourdieu in research practice.
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Playing Styles: The Differentiation of Practices in Online Video Games

Extract



Introduction

Our collaborative work started as a reaction to some of the core assumptions of the newly developed discipline of ‘Game Studies’. That body of literature, akin to cultural studies, is taking root in academia. It makes the assumption that video games are a new medium that needs to be studied using new ways of investigation. This difference is believed to be best studied by analysing the rules of the games. Most of the time, the study of games as mere formal systems of rules does not document what players actually do while playing. The studies which do so, in precise, thorough ethnographies (Taylor 2006; Pearce 2009), depict a particular way of playing, but rarely the diversity of play styles.

Video games ask for a form of cultural consumption distinct from that of television, books or music. Since they are intrinsically interactive, what matters is what people do with games rather than what they think about them. We thus use the expression play styles to designate ways players interact with video games. The purpose of our research is to describe those styles (Boutet 2012a), trace them back to their origins (Coavoux 2010b; Berry 2009), and study their relations, i.e. how each takes place in a social space (Bourdieu 1991d), where they are linked by ties of power and conflict (Coavoux 2010a). The intention of this chapter is to demonstrate that no one style can by itself characterize what it is ‘to play the game’....

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