Gamocracy: Political Communication in the Age of Play
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This thesis brings together the fields of political communications and games studies, in order to facilitate novel analysis methods for post-broadcast democracies and the digital citizens that inhabit them. Following the process of mediatization, in which the dominant media exerts “moulding forces” over the socio-cultural spheres in which it resides, the author suggests that digital games are a growing component in mediatization, as part of the overall development of the ludification of culture. Consequently, this work implements play and games studies theoretical framework in order to explain how political engagement is shifting from the ideological to the casual, how politicians use game-like mechanics in their campaigns to influence and engage audiences and how the gaming skills of the younger generation are applied also to navigating public battlefields rather than only virtual ones. The author dubs these new forms of engagement “casual politicking”, as it prioritizes non-committing and mundane actions facilitated through the amalgamation of digital devices and social practices arising from ICT and games culture. Such forms are dependent on actions more than words, evoking and harnessing impulsive bursts of productivity that serves certain issues, utilizing technological interfaces and social connectedness of users. The author concludes by suggesting that future propagation of playful and gameful practices in political communications implores the employment of additional research framework from cultural studies and humanities to supplement traditional tool of communications.