Performing Neoliberal Masculinity: Reconfiguring Hegemonic Masculinity in Professional Gaming

  • Gerald Voorhees
  • Alexandra Orlando
Part of the Palgrave Games in Context book series (PAGCON)


This chapter examines reconfigurations of masculinity in the culture of competitive, professional(ized) first-person shooter games. Our arguments center on a close study of the Cloud9 Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team’s performances both in gameplay and in the streams and other media with which they promote and market their brand. We build from the work on geek and jock masculinities by first enlarging the tropology of figures of masculinity being enacted by professional players. While the Cloud9 CS:GO team’s gameplay evidences the imbrication of technological mastery and sportive, militarized masculinity, among the team members we also find an outsider, an everyman, a team mother, a boyish joker, and a dandy. And rather than see these various figures of masculinity in opposition, we attempt to show that e-sports inculcates a neoliberal form of masculinity that borrows facets of hegemonic, subordinate, and even counterhegemonic formations of masculinity for the purpose of competitive effectivity and marketability.


Masculinity Digital games e-Sports Neoliberalism Homoeroticism 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gerald Voorhees
    • 1
  • Alexandra Orlando
    • 1
  1. 1.University of WaterlooWaterlooCanada

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