Being Together, Worlds Apart: A Virtual-Worldly Phenomenology

  • Rebecca A. HardestyEmail author
  • Ben Sheredos
Philosophical/Theoretical Paper


Previous work in Game Studies has centered on several loci of investigation in seeking to understand virtual gameworlds. First, researchers have scrutinized the concept of the virtual world itself and how it relates to the idea of “the magic circle”. Second, the field has outlined various forms of experienced “presence”. Third, scholarship has noted that the boundaries between the world of everyday life and virtual worlds are porous, and that this fosters a multiplicity of identities as players identify both with themselves-offline and themselves-in-game. Despite widespread agreement that these topics are targets for research, so far those working on these topics do not have mutually agreed-upon framework. Here we draw upon the work of Alfred Schutz to take up this call. We provide a phenomenological framework which can be used to describe the phenomena of interest to Game Studies, as well as open new avenues of inquiry, in a way acceptable and useful to all. This helps to distinguish the core of the field from the supplemental theoretical and critical commitments which characterize diverse approaches within the field.


Alfred Schutz Game studies We-relationship Intersubjectivity Worldly phenomenology Virtual worlds Life-world Face-to-face Virtualization 



The authors are, first and foremost, indebted to each other for their patience and their respective areas of expertise. They are also appreciative for comments they received on earlier drafts from (i) participants at the International Communication Association’s 2017 meeting, (ii) Morana Alač, Don Everhart, Yelena Gluzman, and Sarah Klein, and (iii) the anonymous referees at Human Studies. They are particularly grateful to the editors, Martin Endress and Stefan Nicolae, for their patience. In addition, they would like to thank the organizers of, and participants at, The Society for Phenomenology and Media’s 2015 annual meeting for feedback on related work.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Communication and Science Studies ProgramUC San DiegoLa JollaUSA
  2. 2.Analytical Writing ProgramUC San DiegoLa JollaUSA

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