Diasporic youth, video games and identity issues



Internet Picture: Assasins Creed offers some identity construction options.

One of the key questions in our recent study, funded by the Norwegian Media Authority (Medietilsynet) and Lottery Authority (Lotteritilsynet) explores the above question.
«Youth» and «diaspora» are terms that both invoke the metaphor of a journey of constant transformation, with issues of border crossing, dislocations, time-space passages, and growing-up as well as reorientations. Durheim puts it more succinctly when he argues that when youth and diaspora occur in tandem, identity formation becomes a complex process. I couldn’t agree more with Rosi Braidotti who explains that diaspora experiences, render immigrant youth experiences fragmented, complex and multiple.
We all remember the psychological transition between adolescence and adulthood and how, already its charged in terms of gender and sexuality. Now, imbricate this with the conundrums of the other transition, i.e. the diaspora Identity, that demands delicate negotiations of nation, class, language, culture and history, as well as ethnicity. In video games, the later, are expressed for instance in bodily forms, skin colour and face and sometimes capabilities, ability to make friends, or find playmates, and so on. So, we can appreciate the fact that understanding immigrant youth’ experiences in and through video games calls for a sophisticated grasp of cross-cultural dialectics and the dimensions of Otherness that marks their lives.
Some people have explained away this identification process with notions such as transnationalism and third space to understand the various kinds of global or cross-border connections that are sustained or created among diasporic individuals living in multicultural societies, and how these individuals negotiate their identities within social worlds that span more than one place. Others have adopted notions such as bifocality or dual frame of reference in analysing the cultural practices and relationships across countries. Biofocality refers to the ways in which transnational forms of exchanges, communication and activities impact upon the cognitive, social and cultural orientation of diasporic populations. Dual frame of reference refers to the ways in which diasporic populations compare life experiences, events and situations from the dual points of view of their native societies and their adopted society.
In our study, we propose a third strand: multiple frames of reference, as a more accurate interpretation of immigrant youths experiences with identity construction through video games in Norway. The study also unravels various identity manifestations and experiences emerging from intersectionality approaches (gender, religion, geography, rurality, ethnicity, history, etc) that will offer you several ‘a ha’ moments :-). Find report on: vestforsk.no.


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