Undergraduate Honors Thesis


Playing the Hero: Examining the Discrepancies between Political Ideology and the First-Person Shooter Video Game, Call of Duty Public Deposited

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  • The objective of this study is to examine how men of draft-eligible age (18-25) who self-identify as on the left of the political spectrum, and who hold an abstract anti-war stance, reconcile playing the first-person shooter game Call of Duty. I am hoping to understand how individuals reconcile their personal beliefs with the actions that they take; in this circumstance, the examined reconciliation is that between playing Call of Duty and identifying as anti-war. First-person shooter (FPS) games have become incredibly popular in the 21st century, coinciding with the start of the War on Terror and the post-9/11 world. Existing research has found that motivations for playing video games include a drive for competition, as well as social connection (Kasumovic et. al 2015, Ghuman and Griffiths 2012). Within the context of video games, situational action theory has been applied to understand the role of video games as actors within individuals’ interactions, and how these actors might manipulate players’ opinions and understandings of their own personal agency (Crawford 2018). Geopolitical ramifications have been examined to conclude that many FPS games tend to push a pro-capitalist, pro-Western, pro-democratic attitude that may unconsciously disseminate to players (Godfrey 2021). There is a significant gap in academic research connecting left-wing beliefs of war and seemingly contrasting motivations for playing first-person shooter games that would allow for a window of opportunity to sociologically examine the disconnects between identities and behaviors. By using Sykes and Matza (1957)’s theory of neutralization, this research examines the five different ways in which the target population personally reconciles with enjoying and participating in a game that goes against their political beliefs.

Date Awarded
  • 2023-04-12
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Last Modified
  • 2023-04-21
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