Video games pervade much of society regardless of age or gender and open new forms of representation, entangling narrative, audiovisuals, spatiality, game mechanics and code into dynamic and interactive cultural artifacts. Video games increasingly refer to religious mythologies and belief systems but also, video games with an explicitly religious content appear on the market, coming from diverse religious traditions and multifaceted backgrounds, ranging from proselytization to education and cultural dialogue. Nevertheless, do gamers actually apprehend and discuss these religious or religion influenced game-immanent narratives as they play. In the last decade, the research on video games and religion has proliferated, yielding a number of monographs and edited volumes, as well as numerous book chapters, journal articles and conference presentations. Despite the importance of these studies, the existing research provides rather anecdotal evidence on the subject matter and varies greatly in aims, subjects, and methods.

The Edition's Objective

As the field of religion and video game studies expands, the need grows to develop and systematize scholarly work on methodological issues. This Edition attempts to fill that void, theoretically as well as empirically, by bringing together scholars in the field and investigating the possible methodological ways in which the intersections of religion and video games can be studied. As stated above, many video games “play” with religious symbols or construct symbolic social and religious universes. Therefore, most of the previous analysis focused on game-immanent religious narratives and applied the respectively necessary methods. This Edition aims at transcending this media-centered logic and at also including an actor-centered research, discussing the role and impact of religious narratives within video games on the people playing and discussing them.

The Edition's and Chapter's Structure

Video games when researched must be understood as comprising eof different levels, such as the game itself, the games designers, the gamers’ performance, the user generated contents on the games (You Tube, Let’s Plays, Forums), and the gamers themselves in their mediatized worlds. Therefore, we deal with diverse research materials that require different methodical approaches. The aim of this Edition is to collect and systematize the various multidisciplinary methods and approaches and to discuss the application (including advantages and limits) of the respective methods. Each chapter should therefore focus on a specific method or methodology. Each chapter must discuss the theoretical background, summarize the existing research, and describe the methodology, as well as it needs to provide a practical case study illuminating how the described methodology directly contributes to the study of religion and video games.

Recommended Topics

The topics include, but are not limited to:

* discourse analysis of religious content in video games,
* analysis of religious symbols in video games,
* analyzing of representation of religion through rule system,
* reception and audience studies, e.g. network analysis
* ethnographic research of gamers or games designer, e.g. online participant observation and interviews
* quantitative methods, e.g. market research on customer behaviour

Publisher

The manuscript will be submitted in the Routledge Studies in Religion and Digital Culture series, edited by Gregory Price Grieve, Heidi Campbell and Mia Lövheim. We anticipate the book to be published in 2016. Submission Procedure Authors are invited to submit latest by January 15, 2015, a max. 1,000 words long chapter proposal clearly explaining the aim and methodological background of his or her proposed chapter, including the proposed case studies. Authors of accepted proposals will be sent chapter guidelines. Full chapters are expected to be submitted by May 30, 2015. All submitted chapters will be reviewed on a double-blind review basis.

January 15, 2015: Proposal Submission Deadline
January 31, 2015: Authors will be notified upon acceptance
May 30, 2015: Full Chapter Submission
July 30, 2015: Review Results Returned
October 15, 2015: Revised Chapter Submission

Inquiries

Vit Sisler (vit.sisler@ff.cuni.cz)
Kerstin Radde-Antweiler (radde@uni-bremen.de)
Xenia Zeiler (xenia.zeiler@helsinki.fi)