Unwritten Rules of Engagement: A case study into the negotiation of meritocratic norms and hardcore game values in and around Loserfruit’s Twitch streams
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In 2018 Christopher A. Paul wrote his book “The Toxic Meritocracy of Video Games” in which he highlights how the concept of meritocracy has latched itself on game culture, promoting the isolation of skill and merit of the individual. However, this focus on merit then neglects the conditions of a marginalised community who face structural disadvantages and play catch-up due to increasing integration of meritocratic mechanics in games, raising the threshold of skill in playing video games. This research links Paul's explanation of meritocratic norms to how hardcore game culture integrated these norms in their creation of gamer identity. What does it mean to be a "real" gamer and which strategies does one use? To expose conflicts of a meritocratic hegemony in gaming a more defined case study of Kathleen “Loserfruit” Belsten will aid in analysing how meritocratic norms and hardcore game cultural values are negotiated in and around her Twitch streams and YouTube videos. This research of negotiation is carried out through the means of a critical discourse analysis (CDA) which utilises three sections (text, discursive practice and social practice). The interplay between these sections is used to disentangle and explain how the construct of discourse perpetuates a hegemonic structure. Due to the focus on agonistics the perspective of Chantal Mouffe and her ideas on the re-articulation of dominant perspective from a counter-hegemony are central in this discussion of a hegemonic struggle in gaming.