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"A world where they belonged": Queer women's use of a Dungeons & Dragons game to experiment with, express, and explore identity
Rogers, Nathaniel L.
Geist-Martin, PatriciaOrr, Michelle
With the renewed interest in tabletop roleplaying games (TRPGs) worldwide, communication scholars are offered an unprecedentedly rich site to conduct observation and research of communication phenomena. Being a game played through an extended series of performative utterances, researchers are able to observe the expression, experimentation, and exploration of identities as a negotiated process among players. Of particular interest are the expression of identities that may be marginalized and thus closeted by bearers. For TRPG players with stigmatized identities, the game serves as a back-channel function for enacting these identity performances. This study found that players used the game to experiment with, express, and explore through a confluence of validating communication to facilitate authentic or sincere play. As a result, players more fully immersed themselves in the narrative experience which was used to integrate underdeveloped facets of identity into their primary identity. These findings support the forwarding of theoretical and material contributions that communication scholars can find by studying TRPG spaces, particularly those used by people with marginalized identities. Keywords: virtual worlds, narrative, theory, LGBTQIA+, Dungeons & Dragons
Professional Studies and Fine Arts
San Diego State University
Master of Arts (M.A.) San Diego State University, 2020
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