Belonging in a Videogame Space: Bridging Affinity Spaces and Communities of Practice


by Sandra Schamroth Abrams & Jayne C. Lammers — 2017

Background: Focusing on ways a common endeavor brings people together, Gee offered the concept of affinity spaces, which suggests that open participation without exclusion or membership is possible. This theory contrasts with Lave and Wenger’s communities of practice, which called attention to situated, hierarchical participatory practices. Bridging these two theories, we look to discussions of Discourses and specialist language and behavior to highlight how doing–being–valuing combinations situate people within a particular space in ways that can welcome open participation while supporting both inclusivity and exclusivity.

Purpose: This article defines and illustrates features of belongingness visible in videogame spaces, underscoring the dynamics of hierarchical participation in interest-driven practices, an important element to consider when attempting to make education more responsive to contemporary youth.

Research Design: This retrospective cross-case analysis includes data from two separate ethnographic studies of videogame affinity spaces. Data displays, as well as anecdotal notes, help facilitate the qualitative analysis of observations, interviews, field notes, and artifacts.

Findings: Within these videogaming affinity spaces, there were practices and value systems (i.e., Discourses) that promoted inclusivity and exclusivity. Data reveal specialist knowledge, interaction, and proficiency, in particular, to be prominent features in relationship-building in interest-driven participatory spaces.

Conclusions: This study calls attention to the doing–being–valuing combinations that situate one within a particular space while supporting inclusivity and exclusivity. A focus on belonging, therefore, revives the concept of community-based Discourses, honors the practices that situate learners in contemporary spaces, and helps researchers and educators understand how youth configure and reconfigure their social practices to seek inclusion by using and honing specialist language and behavior.



To view the full-text for this article you must be signed-in with the appropropriate membership. Please review your options below:

Sign-in
Email:
Password:
Store a cookie on my computer that will allow me to skip this sign-in in the future.
Send me my password -- I can't remember it
 
Purchase this Article
Purchase Belonging in a Videogame Space: Bridging Affinity Spaces and Communities of Practice
Individual-Resource passes allow you to purchase access to resources one resource at a time. There are no recurring fees.
$12
Become a Member
Online Access
With this membership you receive online access to all of TCRecord's content. The introductory rate of $25 is available for a limited time.
$25
Print and Online Access
With this membership you receive the print journal and free online access to all of TCRecord's content.
$210


Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 119 Number 12, 2017, p. 1-
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 21962, Date Accessed: 10/22/2017 7:06:26 PM

Purchase Reprint Rights for this article or review