Enacting Culture in Gaming: A Video Gamer's Literacy Experiences and Practices


  • Aaron Antonio Toscano University of North Carolina at Charlotte


Video games are growing as a subject for scholarly analysis (Gee, 2003; Selfe & Hawisher 2004; Selfe & Hawisher 2004, 2007): This discussion argues that video games are another simulacra for postmodern cultural critique. Video games do cultural work by allowing gamers to play out socially constructed hopes and fears. As cultural products mediated by overarching values, video games enact the culture from which they come and to which they are marketed, including features of individualism, militarization, and perseverance. Following Brian Streetâs (2003) ideological model of literacy, this analysis of a particular gamerâs literacy practices found them heavily influenced by contemporary culture: Video game environments require gamers to read dynamic semiotic systems (Gee, 2003) that position them to be cultural critics on the one hand and learners acquiring new literacy practices on the other. âBrent,â a creative writer, creates fictional worlds in his writing that reinscribe common video game narratives, an intertextuality reinforcing how literacy is never learned in a vacuum outside of cultural influences. Acquiring literacy skills via gaming involves socio-political immersion in and interaction with media reflecting the surrounding dominant cultural ideology.

Author Biography

Aaron Antonio Toscano, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

I am an assistant professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where I teach courses in technical communication, rhetoric/composition, new media studies, and womenâs and gender studies.




How to Cite

Toscano, A. A. (2011). Enacting Culture in Gaming: A Video Gamer’s Literacy Experiences and Practices. Current Issues in Education, 14(1). Retrieved from https://cie.asu.edu/ojs/index.php/cieatasu/article/view/640