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How do Video Games Normalize Violence? A Qualitative Content Analysis of Popular Video Games

Foster, Heather (2016) How do Video Games Normalize Violence? A Qualitative Content Analysis of Popular Video Games. Masters thesis, Northern Arizona University.

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News accounts about the school shootings at Columbine, Virginia Tech, and Sandy Hook Elementary have raised concern about violent content in video games. The literature on video games is less developed and my research relies on news stories to conceptualize the problem. This study examines video game content to understand how that content normalizes violence. Three questions guide my study: (1) is there evidence of the normalization of violence in the contents of video games. (2) If so, how do these processes operate? In addition (3) to what extent, are these processes like or different from normalization processes that occur in social interaction? I pursue these questions from a criminological perspective. Specifically, this study observes eight processes that previous criminologists suggest normalize violence: repetition, rewards system, dehumanization, naturalization, minimization, legitimization, historical use of violence, and heteronormative values. The data for this study derives from recorded observations of 10 popular video games. Through a qualitative content analysis, this study identifies and describes eight sociological processes within my sample of 10 popular games from 2010 to 2015. My analysis is that these processes are present in the video games. Furthermore, the sociological processes combine with one another to create a mindset that violence in video games is normal. I provide implications for news media, educators, parenting experts, and parents as well as suggestions for conducting a content analysis of video games.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Publisher’s Statement: © Copyright is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the Cline Library, Northern Arizona University. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Keywords: Content analysis; Normalization of violence; Video games; Violence and video games
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
NAU Depositing Author Academic Status: Student
Department/Unit: Graduate College > Theses and Dissertations
College of Social and Behavioral Science > Criminology and Criminal Justice
Date Deposited: 30 Mar 2018 19:35
URI: http://openknowledge.nau.edu/id/eprint/5017

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