Den allvarsamma leken : Om World of Warcraft och läckaget

Sammanfattning: Through more than five years of extensive, participatory research the writer became a fully integrated member of the World of Warcraft community he set out to study. By actually living the grounded practices that constitute the everyday life he concludes that the mundane, often repetitive practice has very little to do with the cyber-utopian claim that one can flee the body and become who they want on the Internet. Instead this doctoral thesis argues that the constant transitions of the borders between offline and online, virtual and real, body and avatar, play and work, player and producer are best described with the concept of leakage. Using leakage to describe the perforated borders that surrounds the game not only allows an understanding of World of Warcraft as a powerful site for production of meaning and culture but also places it far from the traditional understandings of separated fun, play and games. Play as an activity has traditionally been described with three intrinsic features: it is separable from everyday life, in particular from work; it is safe, meaning that it isn’t productive nor does it carry consequence and finally that play is pleasurable or fun. World of Warcraft doesn’t easily admit to these features and should not be understood as neither innocent utopia nor as a devoured mimesis, but rather as an expansion of the life space where players repeatedly and deliberately stretch beyond the producer’s intentions and create a world consisting of work, unwritten social norms, creativity and friendship. Players are social laborers that produce the core of what makes World of Warcraft what it is: a serious game.