image of gameboy system with a smile on the screen.

Photo credit: JD Hancock

This course is two things: a pragmatic application of the concepts, theories, and ways of seeing the world that were introduced to you in Sociology 101, and a critical study of the fastest-growing yet least understood aspect of mass digital culture: video games. This focus on games will provide an anchor point to one core topic while we move to new themes and perspectives each week. This multi-faceted approach allows us to develop a much deeper view of the role of gaming culture and technology in our lives, one that goes far beyond the one-dimensional accounts common in Fox News reports or Twitter battles over toxic gamer cultures. These themes are drawn directly from, and build upon, your previous sociology courses: culture, socialization, law, sex & gender, race & ethnicity, deviance & criminology, power & stratification, labour & organization, health, aging, and the environment.

The course will pair specific games with readings drawing from a variety of theoretical perspectives, meaning that you’ll explore games from a critical perspective and a hands-on fashion, working both individually and in groups on a series of projects designed to further your understanding of contemporary digital technologies and their role in contemporary society, as well as to develop your research and writing skills.