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Virtually SacredMyth and Meaning in World of Warcraft and Second Life$
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Robert M. Geraci

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199344697

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199344697.001.0001

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Polite Society

Polite Society

Chapter:
(p.33) 2 Polite Society
Source:
Virtually Sacred
Author(s):

Robert M. Geraci

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199344697.003.0002

This chapter describes the how World of Warcraft provides some of the benefits of religious affiliation: a public forum for group formation and ethical reflection that might otherwise be the purview of religious institutions. While a number of scholars have recently commented on the importance of social groups in video gaming, this chapter goes beyond such claims to discuss how virtual worlds can operate as religious, or quasi-religious, societies. By providing social grouping mechanisms and encouraging ethical reflection, World of Warcraft takes on two of the dimensions of the sacred. Thanks to the associational possibilities inherent in World of Warcraft play, the game enables the making of meaning in individuals’ lives; by forming communities and immersing themselves in questions of morality and ethics at both explicit and implicit levels, gamers draw on the game as a quasi-religious resource, as virtually sacred.

Keywords:   Ethics, Morality, Social groups, Video games, Virtual worlds, World of Warcraft

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