UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The re-construction of identity and gender in the emerging digital youth culture : a case study of the Chinese online gaming community Yue, Xiao Ping


With 618 million active Internet users, the mainland Chinese market now has the largest online user base in the world, of which two-thirds is engaged in online gaming (Rapoza, 2014). To better understand the impact of online gaming on the society, this thesis examines how online gaming reconstructs consumer identities and gender relationship in this emerging economy. The first part of this thesis provides a comprehensive review of the recent development of the online game market as well as the transformation of identity and gender in contemporary Chinese society. The second part of this thesis investigates how online gaming culture, as a subset of popular culture, affects individuals’ everyday lives and socio-dynamics. This thesis critically analyzes the reconstruction of identity and gender relationships among the “digital youth” population in Shanghai, mainland China. The findings highlight the embodiment and disembodiment of digital selves in the online game context. The contribution of this thesis is threefold. First, this thesis provides a critical discussion on the reconstruction of identity, gender, and consumerism at the intersection of the physical and digital worlds. Second, the findings of this study illustrate key factors that influence or mediate the construction of digital youth culture. Finally, this thesis provides insights to practitioners, marketing and consumer researchers, and policymakers regarding the positive and negative impacts of online gaming on the young generation in mainland China.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada