State of Religion

After initially experiencing State of Play and observing it with autoethnographic research in mind, there were several processes, encounters and internal thoughts I experienced which I will analyses through self-reflective investigation. I hope to explore certain epiphanies and important moments within the text and in doing so, will hope to gain and convey a deeper understanding of the cultural nuances within the Korean e-sports industry.

As we begun the viewing of State of Play in class, the #Digc330 twitter feed sprang to life. This was an extremely interesting experience. Everyone contributing to the feed was simultaneously watching the documentary and thus commenting on the experience itself in live time. However, whilst this was all simultaneous, the ideas and issues that were being brought up all explored different aspects of the film.




The above tweets are just a few I pulled from the #digc330 feed to portray the variations in issues being discussed. This process of autoehtnography helps to explain a couple of things. Firstly, autoethnography and the research conducted by the individual will vary and depend on the individuals cultural back ground. Therefore within autoethnography, there is no “right” or “wrong” thing to be looking at, rather the individual draws from their own personal experiences and reflects on this in the hope of forming a greater understanding of the culture they have experienced. Yet viewing State of Play alongside a live twitter feed undoubtedly affected my understanding of the documentary and Korean e-sport culture, more so then if I had simply viewed the film alone. Therefore, autoethnography is more than just personal self-reflection, it also allows for the reflection of a group of experiences and observations.

As I already had some basic knowledge and exposure to competitive Korean e-sports previous to my initial State of Play viewing, I found myself actively searching for unfamiliar aspects within the film. Where I understood that the money, stadiums, huge fan bases, and team houses where a common part of e-sports, I was intrigued by the involvement of the family. By drawing on my personal experience I was able to relate to certain aspects of the Korean culture, while also noticing other aspects that I haven’t personally experienced before.

Taking note of the historical and spiritual/religious culture that came from the parents in State of Play, I was intrigued and wondered “Is this emphasis on religion part of the overall Korean culture, or is it simply a result of Jae-dongs culture?”

Looking at this paper, I am almost convinced that the emphasis towards spirituality and religion in Jae-dongs family, is not repeated throughout the entirety of South Korean families. Of the secondary school children surveyed in the “Spiritual State of the World’s Children, Executive Summary report for south Korean” 58% stated they have no religious affiliation and only 16% report weekly or daily prayer. These statistics suggest many families are much less involved with religion and spirituality when compared to what we see in State of Play. This is interesting as I have come to realise that State of Play is conveying quite an individual, unique story about an elite pro-gamer. This story isn’t what every pro-gamer has experienced, rather it is Jae-dong’s personal endeavour. In other words, we experience Jae-dongs journey through the cultures immediately surrounding him.



  1. It would be interesting to determine which generation in the sample (OneHope, 2011) demonstrates no affiliation with religion. Additionally whether this 58 per cent can be considered as a family approach to religion, or merely individuals within the unit. However it does emphasise the growing movement away from religious affiliation. Interestingly though is that 26% of the sample state that they are inclined to attend religious activities regularly once they leave home. This backs up your notion that perhaps religion isn’t as widespread beyond Jae-Dong’s family and almost absent once that family unit breaks away.


    OneHope (2011) Spiritual State of the World’s Children A Quantitative Study, Executive Summary, Metadigm, viewed 25.08.16


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