T. L. Taylor is a sociologist whose research focuses on gaming, virtual environments, and computer-mediated communication. She has studied avatars and their use in the construction of identity and community, as well as the ways value systems come to be embedded in software and design. Her current work on massive multiplayer gaming at the Center for Computer Games Research at IT-University in Copenhagen, Denmark, has explored these themes as well as examining gender, power gaming, socialization, and the challenges presented by the commercialization of gaming environments. Associate Professor Taylor holds a PhD from Brandeis University and is the author of numerous publications on the sociology of online worlds; she is also a regular invited contributor to Terra Nova, a website dedicated to the analysis of multiuser virtual environments.
Beyond Management: Considering Participatory Design and Governance in Player Culture
Over the past several years the vibrant field of game studies has emerged. Coinciding with the development of new scholarly arenas of study has been the popularization of online multiplayer environments to a broader demographic that previously tapped with text-based MUDs. While in many ways these developments seem to mark a whole new world for both research and play, there remain useful traditions we can tap into to explore some of the more difficult issues scholars, designers, and players face with the emergence of massive multiplayer culture. Rather than focusing on computer games as stories, rule systems, or entertainment, what analytical ground opens up by considering the ways they are both technologies and lifeworlds? This presentation will attempt to weave in threads from critical internet studies, science, technology & society studies (STS), and participatory design traditions to address the issue of player involvement in not only the construction, but maintenance of their game spaces.