The impact that First Person Shooter video games have had on the evolution of youth culture over a decade or more has been the focus of attention from political leaders; medical and legal specialists; and the mass media. Much of the discussion concerning these games has focused on the issues of the violence that is depicted in the games and on the perceived psychological and social costs for individuals and society. What is not widely canvassed in the public debate generated by violent video games is the role that military-themed games play in the wider process of militarization. The significance of this genre of gaming for the creation of a militarized variant of youth culture warrants closer interrogation. War/Play critically examines the role that militarized video games such as Call of Duty play in the lives of young people and the impact these games have had on the evolution of youth culture and the broader society. The book examines and critiques the manner in which the habits and social interactions of young people, particularly boys and young men, have been reconfigured through a form of pedagogy embedded within this genre. ; War/Play critically examines the role that militarized video games such as Call of Duty play in the lives of young people and the impact these games have had on the evolution of youth culture and the broader society. The book examines and critiques the manner in which the habits and social interactions of young people have been reconfigured through a form of pedagogy embedded within this genre. ; Contents: War Culture – The Militarization of Society – Video Games, Digital Culture, and the Militarization of the Young – Propaganda and Video Games – The First Person Shooter – The Military Habitus – Drone Strike – The «Information Empire» – War without End?
«War/Play is a brilliant analysis not just of how militarization is increasingly embedded in every aspect of society, but how it is pedagogically deployed through video games that parade as entertainment. For John Martino, video games play a crucial role in shaping subjectivity, desire, values, and modes of identification. Violent videos parading as military entertainment promote pedagogical practices which reach far beyond developing a dangerous and ethically problematic insensitivity to violence. More importantly, they shape individuals as the subject of violence itself. This is a crucial book for understanding video games and popular culture as a form of public pedagogy that is in every way as important pedagogically as the schools and the more established modes of education.» (Henry Giroux, McMaster University Professor for Scholarship in the Public Interest; Distinguished Visiting Professor at Ryerson University) «John Martino’s War/Play brings home the importance of critically analyzing digital artifacts as political because of their potential to be used as ‘perception weaponry’ – i.e., propaganda tools that, in this case, work toward normalizing the military and military values in society. His focus on first person shooter military-themed video games exposes how crucial it is to understand militarization as a far- and deep-reaching process intimately tied to the Age of the ‘Information Empire’ and its connection to and impact on our everyday lives. » (Susan T Jackson, Associate Senior Researcher with the SIPRI Arms and Military Expenditure Programme)
John Martino (PhD, BA, DipEd) holds the position of Senior Lecturer in the College of Education at Victoria University, where he also lectures in media studies and the sociology of education. He has published in the fields of political sociology, critical media studies, and in education.