Technomasculinity and Its Influence in Video Game Production

  • Robin Johnson
Part of the Palgrave Games in Context book series (PAGCON)


This chapter focuses on expressions of technomasculinity by video game employees and how this affects production. Technomasculinity associates men with advanced computer proficiency, and it is one part of a structure of hegemonic masculinity. Using in-depth interviews of game workers, the chapter argues that male employees express technomasculinity through stories about family dynamics, education, leisure, and work. Families introduce sons to computers at early ages, and game workers reported being obsessed with video games that made them gamers and seek work in the industry. An overall sexual division of labor also informs boys’ socialization into advanced computer skills needed for game production jobs. Workers negotiate aspects of their identity in relation to a heroic masculinity common in popular culture. This affects the overall working conditions of the industry.


Masculinity Video games In-depth interviews Game design Technomasculinity 


  1. Bourdieu, Pierre. 1977. Outline of a Theory of Practice. Trans. Richard Nice. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Butler, Judith. 1990. Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  3. Cockburn, Cynthia. 1985. Machinery of Dominance: Men, Women and Technical Know-How. London: Pluto Press.Google Scholar
  4. Committee on Maximizing the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering. 2007. Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.Google Scholar
  5. Connell, R.W. 1987. Gender and Power. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  6. ———. 2005. Masculinities. 2nd ed. Los Angeles: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  7. Consalvo, Mia. 2008. Crunched by Passion: Women Game Developers and Workplace Challenges. In Beyond Barbie and Mortal Kombat: New Perspectives on Gender and Gaming, ed. Yasmin B. Kafai, Carrie Heeter, Jill Denner, and Jennifer Y. Sun, 177–192. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  8. ———. 2012. Confronting Toxic Gamer Culture: A Challenge for Feminist Game Studies Scholars. Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media & Technology 1. Accessed 15 Dec 2014.
  9. Croissant, Jennifer. 2000. Engendering Technology: Culture, Gender and Work. In Research in Science and Technology Studies: Gender and Work, ed. Shirley Gorenstein, 189–208. Stamford, CT: JAI Press.Google Scholar
  10. Dovey, John, and Helen Kennedy. 2006. Game Cultures: Computer Games as New Media. Berkshire: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Evans, Elizabeth. 2016. The Economics of Free: Freemium Games, Branding and the Impatience Economy. Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies 22 (6): 563–580.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Halter, Ed. 2007. From Sun Tzu to Xbox: War and Video Games. New York: Thunder Mouth Press.Google Scholar
  13. Huntemann, Nina, and Matthew Payne. 2010. Introduction. In Joystick Soldiers: The Politics of Play in Military Video Games, ed. Nina Huntemann and Matthew Payne, 1–18. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  14. Johnson, Robin. 2013. Towards Greater Production Diversity: Examining Social Boundaries at a Video Game Studio. Games and Culture 8 (3): 136–160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. ———. 2014. Hiding in Plain Sight: Reproducing Masculine Culture at a Video Game Studio. Communication, Culture & Critique 7 (4): 578–594.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Josselson, Ruthellen. 2013. Interviewing for Qualitative Inquiry. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  17. Kline, Stephen, Nick Dyer-Witheford, and Graig de Peuter. 2003. Digital Play: The Interaction of Technology, Culture and Marketing. Ithaca, NY: McGill-Queen’s University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Krais, Beate. 2006. Gender, Sociological Theory and Bourdieu’s Sociology of Practice. Theory, Culture & Society 23 (6): 119–134.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Lindlof, Thomas, and Bryan C. Taylor. 2011. Qualitative Communication Research Methods. 3rd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  20. O’Donnell, Casey. 2014. Developer’s Dilemma. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  21. Postigo, Hector. 2007. Of Mods and Modders: Chasing Down the Value of Fan-based Digital Game Modifications. Games & Culture 2 (4): 300–313.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Rakow, Lana F. 1988. Gendered Technology, Gendered Practice. Critical Studies in Mass Communication 5 (1): 57–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Royse, Pam, Joon Lee, Baasanjav Undrahbuyan, Mark Hopson, and Mia Consalvo. 2007. Women and Games: Technologies of the Gendered Self. New Media & Society 9 (4): 555–576.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Shaw, Adrienne. 2009. Putting the Gay in Games: Cultural Production and GLBT Content in Video Games. Games and Culture 4 (3): 228–253.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Wajcman, Judy. 2004. TechnoFeminism. Malden, MA: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  26. Walkerdine, Valerie. 2006. Playing the Game. Feminist Media Studies 6 (4): 519–537.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robin Johnson
    • 1
  1. 1.University of IdahoMoscowUSA

Personalised recommendations