From Addicts to Athletes: participation in the discursive construction of digital games in urban China

Marcella Szablewicz


Based upon ethnographic fieldwork conducted in Shanghai and Beijing, China, this paper analyzes different applications of the Chinese terms wangluo youxi (literally defined as internet games) danji youxi (literally defined as single computer games) and dianzi jingji (literally defined as electronic sports) in order to unearth cultural assumptions and contradictions about different types of game play and their varied motivations and effects. By problematizing the manner in which gamers, the media and the government employed the terms wangluo youxi, danji youxi, and dianzi jingji, the author reveals the processes by which different types of gamers are alternately constructed as addicts and athletes, and the links between such constructions and larger cultural discourses on Chinese nationalism, spiritual civilization and neoliberal ideals.


internet games; pc games; e-sports; china; internet addiction

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