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Gaming myth: an exploration of video gaming, heritage, and identity creation in contemporary Cuba

Lickert, M. R. (2019) Gaming myth: an exploration of video gaming, heritage, and identity creation in contemporary Cuba. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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Abstract/Summary

This thesis examines the relationship between video games and the creation and sustainment of local, national, and personal myths in contemporary Cuba. This thesis examines traditional notions of myth, particularly those which relate to culture and heritage. At the same time, it will analyse the evolving role which video games, and technology more generally, play in our lives, and how new technologies affect the creation and propagation of myth in personal and national narratives. This thesis will then go on to give an overview of the historical context of Cuba, a nation in which myth continues to play a fundamental role in the national narrative, and explore how video games are an increasingly central element of these narratives. This thesis asks whether video games and computing can tell us anything of note about Cuban culture, and whether the games which are being played and developed in Cuba are part of a broader cultural and historical tradition which shapes Cuba as it is today. This thesis answers both of these questions in the affirmative, and demonstrates the significant impact which video games have had upon Cuba (particularly the more rural and remote parts of the country). This thesis also examines the question of whether gaming in Cuba might provide us with any practical or theoretical approaches to gaming which might be missing from the existing literature, and brings to the fore the lessons which Cuba’s unique circumstances hold for the furthering of the study of video games as an academic discipline. In order to support these assertions, the final chapter of this thesis is dedicated to a case study of the rural province of Granma. Using original interviews and fieldwork, this chapter combines the extensive historical and theoretical considerations which have been laid out in the preceding chapters, and applies them to the contemporary Cuban context. This thesis makes an original contribution to both the fields of Cuban studies and video game theory. Video game studies have traditionally been Western-centric, and have all but ignored countries such as Cuba. Whilst previous works have explored the role of myth within Cuba and gaming separately, this is the first work to study the manner in which myth underpins both video gaming and Cuban culture as a symbiotic whole.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Kumaraswami, P.
Thesis/Report Department:School of Literature and Languages
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Literature and Languages
ID Code:88829

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