Journal of Contemporary Rhetoric
A Peer Reviewed Journal of Current Event Analysis

Current Issue: Volume 4, Issue 3/4

Updated February 26, 2015


Gaming Citizenship: Video Games as Lessons in Civic Life
Amber Davisson and Danielle Gehm

Citizenship is a relationship between strangers who may have little in common beyond a shared geopolitical space. The strength of a citizenry is dependent, in part, on individuals who are able to envision the larger society, imagine themselves as part of it, and act on that sense of imagined connectedness. Media have long been resources for developing that imagination. This essay looks at the media format of video games to understand how the proceduralism in digital technology can function rhetorically by mimicking rituals of civic life and, in the process, commenting on those rituals. Video games use a combination of fictive worlds and concrete rules to argue for what it means to be a good citizen. Keywords: Citizenship, Fictive Worlds, Imagination, Procedural Rhetoric, Video Games