The study of ethnography enables a user to gather information through the analysis of multiple areas and sources rather than through personal relations. Auto-ethnography is when this style of ethnographic research is paired with self-reflectivity where the author is able to use personal experiences, through placing themselves within the social context they are researching and gaining an insight into their personal perception of the cultural and social ramifications involved with the area of research. (Alsop, 2002) The personal experience gained in Auto-ethnographic research essentially must depict the culture in which it is addressing and achieve this through combining elements from the research styles, autobiography and ethnography. (Ellis, 2011)

In my individual assessment I have chosen to look at the cultural phenomenon surrounding online video game culture – in particular the online game League of Legends (LOL). My reason for choosing this topic was that in recent years I have noticed a large number of young men I am associated with have began playing this game regularly (pretty much in daily). I have witnessed the dominance it has taken in their social lives. My brother and my brother-in-law are often located at their computers with headsets on their heads, taking to their friends (or each other) about planned attacks on other teams and other gaming banter. In the next couple of weeks I intend to embark upon my own ethnographical research of the game League of Legends and anaylse how it has developed into more than just a from of leisure or social interaction but rather a lifestyle and potentially for some consumers a career.

I intend to achieve this auto-ethnographic research through, playing the game LOL myself and gaining an understanding into how the game operates and why it has gained such a cult following, I will compare LOL to other popular online games such as DOTA. Further research will include; researching popular culture characters and players within the games, how this game is appreciated across cultures – in particular Asian gaming culture. I will explore the way in which Asian gaming culture has achieved success resulting in opportunity for players with talent and motivation are able to compete in national leagues professionally. In order to achieve this I will watch the chinese championship on twitch which was recently broadcasted. I will interact with popular gaming websites such as Moba which is a massive online battle arena and the website Azubu in order to gain further knowledge on the popular media forms affiliated with this culture.


Ellis, Carolyn, Adams, Tony E, Bochner, Arthur P, 2011, Autoethnography: An Overview, Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung/Forum: Qualitative Social Research, Volume 12, No. 1, Art 10

Alsop, Christiane, K, 2002, Home and Away: Self-Reflexive Auto-/Ethnography, Forum: Qualitative Social Research, Theories, Methods, Applications, Vol 3, No. 3

One comment

  1. Hey.. yes its a great idea for you to begin playing the game yourself. Who knows, you might love it. You touched on some of those important focus questions in your post when you mentioned that for many playing this game has transformed from a mere leisure activity to a lifestyle, and I think its important to your study to continue along those lines and consider how online or virtual identities begin to cross over into people’s offline or real-world identities, and also how you as an outsider go about carving out your own online gaming identity. I’d be interested to know if you are easily accepted into this community.

    I also stumbled across a link to an autoethnographic research paper on video gaming.. might be of some use to you!


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