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Title: Regulating e-entertainment? : an ethno-corporative approach to the governance frames for videogame and esports industries
Authors: Garrich Alabarce, Albert
Degree: Ph.D.
Issue Date: 2019
Abstract: The general approach to studying the governance of the Internet has been shaped by the way it was invented and its initial development. Today, this approach still dominates debates surrounding who ought to manage the Internet (and how), despite being incompatible with traditional paradigms of international power relations, industry self-regulation, and their practices. The actors and structures that have emerged over time are usually not included in Internet Governance (IG) discourses, although they are the driving forces creating, designing, and implementing the regulations and standards that underpin what has come to be known as Internet Governance. This project wishes to question the relevance of existing global Internet Governance discourses through an analysis of how certain regulatory aspects of the Internet are adapted to local socio-political settings by the global videogames and eSport industries, which are at the center of evolving cross-national Internet practices. In order to detail the socio-political settings of these two industries in greater depth, I adopt an approach based on Practice and Qualitative Network Theory to study the daily decision-making and actions of professionals engaged in the field of online gaming / eSports. Thus, the research adopts a qualitative methodological framework. The first methodological layer consists of the analysis of semi-structured interviews conducted with professionals in these industries with extensive experience in regional markets. The second comprises the detailing and explanation of the ethnographic and autoethnographic fieldwork undertaken to make sense of the participants' various practices. Taking the current discourse surrounding Internet Governance (IG) as my starting point, I point to its deficiencies in acknowledging actual practices. The research data sheds much-needed light on—and thus confirms—the deficiency of existing IG approaches and the need to investigate individual practices more closely. The responses provided by my participants suggest that a coherent model of IG practices that largely ignores international policies and treaties exists—one that instead draws heavily on locally applicable laws and regulations. Based on these findings, IG on the international level should be reconsidered, and the links between national/local regulations and international IG should be re-examined. Besides the outcomes stated above, this project makes two notable conclusions. First, it highlights how the governing principles portrayed by my participants reflect an amalgam of norms and regulations that depend on the situated practices of actors, including market regulations, corporate and cultural standards, and ongoing negotiation between individuals. The second is the foregrounding of the need to take the individual professional actor (whether in a corporation or a professional eSports league) as the unit of analysis in making sense of the regulatory frameworks that pertain to agents' practices.
Subjects: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Internet governance
Internet -- Government policy
Video games industry
Electronic games industry
Video games -- Competitions
Pages: 262 pages : color illustrations
Appears in Collections:Thesis

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