The Student with a Thousand Faces: From the Ethics in Video Games to Becoming a Citizen
Cultural Studies of Science Education Volume 7, Number 4, ISSN 1871-1502
Video games, as technological and cultural artifacts of considerable influence in the contemporary society, play an important role in the construction of identities, just as other artifacts (e.g., books, newspapers, television) played for a long time. In this paper, we discuss this role by considering video games under two concepts, othering and technopoly, and focus on how these concepts demand that we deepen our understanding of the ethics of video games. We address here how the construction of identities within video games involves othering process, that is, processes through which, when signifying and identifying "Ourselves", we create and marginalize "Others". Moreover, we discuss how video games can play an important role in the legitimation of the technopoly, understood as a totalitarian regime related to science, technology and their place in our societies. Under these two concepts, understanding the ethics of video games goes beyond the controversy about their violence. The main focus of discussion should lie in how the ethics of video games is related to their part in the formation of the players' citizenship. Examining several examples of electronic games, we consider how video games provide a rich experience in which the player has the opportunity to develop a practical wisdom ("phronesis"), which can lead her to be a virtuous being. However, they can be also harmful to the moral experiences of the subjects when they show unethical contents related to othering processes that are not so clearly and openly condemned as violence, as in the cases of sexism, racism or xenophobia. Rather than leading us to conclude that video games needed to be banned or censored, this argument makes us highlight their role in the (science) education of critical, socially responsible, ethical, and politically active citizens, precisely because they encompass othering processes and science, technology, and society relationships.
Munoz, Y.J. & El-Hani, C.N. (2012). The Student with a Thousand Faces: From the Ethics in Video Games to Becoming a Citizen. Cultural Studies of Science Education, 7(4), 909-943.