Squire and Steinkuehler on The genesis of ‘CyberCulture’: The case of Star Wars Galaxies

The genesis of ‘CyberCulture’: The case of Star Wars Galaxies (Via Kurt’s Research.) Squire and Steinkuehler are now newlyweds. I downloaded this article they cowrote a few months earlier. There was much that related to the constructivist concept of social negotiation (of meaning). I’ve collected some important quotes in this post. Here’s that explanation again: These quotes are categorized based on the section of my own paper they might appear in. They appear with minimal annotation, and they appear sans any formating – I’ve dragged and dropped from my outliner.

Socially Negotiated

– [ ] “Understanding MMOGs as cultures and not just environments is
crucial… these communities are defined by and through their
cultural practices – the shared customs, procedures, rituals, and
beliefs.” (Squire & Steinkuehler, in press, p. 3)
– [ ] “Despite frequent public dismissals and indictments, MMOGs do
constitute complex and nuanced sets of multi-modal social and
communicative practices” (Squire & Steinkuehler, in press, p. 4)
– [ ] “MMOG social structures appear to be powerful means for
mobilizing players’ identities” (Squire & Steinkuehler, in
press, p. 4)
– [ ] “[An MMORPG] as a world and culture is not solely the result of
design decisions but also of the goals and intentions of players”
(Squire & Steinkuehler, in press, p. 14)
– [ ] “Because MMOGs are living, breathing cultures, player practices
do not always align with the intentions of designers as one might
anticipate” (Squire & Steinkuehler, in press, p. 17) This is a warning
for educational games, too!
– [ ] “we see that MMOGs are neither designed nor wholly emergent, but
rather arising at the intersection of player goals, expectations,
and design features. Watching the Star Wars Galaxies design team
struggle to manage these interacting (and at times contradictory)
forces reminds us of the similar challenges faced by educators
designing classroom and school cultures.” (Squire &
Steinkuehler, in press, p. 7)

21st Century Skills

– [ ] “the demands to participate in the game space require players to
engage in complex literacy practices that embody most aspects of
what it means to be literate within a given community (c.f. Gee,
in press). Players invent language, negotiate power relations,
present identities, and engage in complex argumentation. What
should be particularly encouraging to educators, we find that
participants frequently and willingly reflect on this discourse,
even creating language designed to critique practices. Being
literate in an MMOG culture means not only getting one’s language
right but getting one’s practices right as well. Language
mediates practice and organizes activity as players collaborate
in joint tasks, enabling players to engage in sophisticated
practices. In short whereas many have feared that participants in
MMOGs are “doing nothing” or “wasting their time,” we find that
MMOG participants are engaging in complex practices where they
invent and reinvent themselves in powerful ways.” (Squire &
Steinkuehler, in press, p. 16)

Role of the Teacher

– [ ] “educators, policy makers, and cultural critics need to
understand the complexity of MMOGs and the sophistication of MMOG
play as a social practice.” (Squire & Steinkuehler, in press,
p. 16)


Squire, K. D. & Steinkuehler, C. A. (in press). The genesis of ‘CyberCulture’: The case of Star Wars Galaxies. In Cyberlines: Languages and cultures of the Internet (2nd ed.), Gibbs, D. & Krause, K-L. (Eds). Albert Park, Australia: James Nicholas Publishers.

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