Document Type

Thesis

Publication Date

Spring 4-15-2019

First Advisor

Dr. Polly E. Bugros McLean

Abstract

The purpose of this thesis is to examine the nascent collegiate esports industry and the communities that have formed along with it. Specifically, the thesis aims to answer the questions of what the skills one can acquire through esports are, what is the nature of such communities, and how notions of masculine identity are formed through them. These questions were answered by acquiring qualitative data through participant observation and in-depth interviews of an esports team at the University of Colorado Boulder. There are three levels to the results. First, esports provide a cultural battleground in which the notions of what masculinity is and how it is performed is contested. Second, playing esports at the collegiate level can provide players with valuable skills such as communication, teamwork and leadership that are desirable for the future. Finally, that the communities formed through esports form a strong sense of belonging and simultaneously forge friendships, granting players a strong social network and support net.

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