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"Avatar, Assembled The Social and Technical Anatomy of Digital Bodies" by Jaime Banks (ed.)

23-01-2018 22:47

Avatar, Assembled is a curated volume that unpacks videogame
and virtual world avatars—not as a monolithic phenomenon (as
they are usually framed) but as sociotechnical assemblages, pieced together from social (human‐like) features like voice and gesture to technical (machine‐like) features like graphics and glitches. Each chapter accounts for the empirical, theoretical, technical, and popular understandings of these avatar "components"—60 in total—altogether offering a nuanced explication of avatars‐asassemblages as they matter in contemporary society and in individual experience. The volume is a "crossover" piece in that, while it delves into complex ideas, it is written in a way that will be accessible and interesting to students, researchers, designers, and practitioners alike.


Jaime Banks (Ph.D., Colorado State University) is Assistant Professor at West Virginia University’s Department of Communication Studies. Her social scientific work is animated by questions about how digital games influence how we see ourselves and about how humans relate to the technologies they use. She is a research associate at WVU’s Interaction Lab, was the founding Chair of the National Communication Association’s Game Studies Division, and serves on the editorial boards of Communication Research Reports and the Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media.


“Much like the multiple customization options many games offer to videogame players, Avatar, Assembled offers the reader multiple fascinating angles from which to understand game avatars. Covering the social and technical aspects that make up our digital representations, the book draws on specific game examples, highlights well‐known avatars, and brings in classic as well as cutting‐edge theory about how and why these representations come to matter to us so much. For games scholars and interested players, this volume is not to be missed.”

—Mia Consalvo, Professor, Communication Studies, Canada Research Chair in Game Studies and Design, Concordia
University (Montreal, Canada)