THE USE OF HOMOPHOBIC PEJORATIVES AMONG GAMERS A Critical Discourse Analysis of Slurs Within the Gaming Sphere
Abstract: The aim of this bachelor’s thesis is to analyze how homophobic slurs occur in the online gaming community in order to illustrate discriminatory language among gamers. This thesis also includes those not using such language, and how they react when homophobic slurs occur. Material was collected from the text chat in the online game World of Warcraft, as well as a forum thread on the American Blizzard forums that is centered around homophobic slurs in the online game Overwatch. The material was then analyzed using Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) to critically examine how homophobic language occurs in online gaming discourse. The results show that homophobic slurs are indeed used among gamers, and most instances can be connected to harassment and a need for power over other players. In other cases, the terms analyzed were sometimes used as descriptors rather than as slurs. Furthermore, players rarely object themselves to such language. The forum thread posts also show that players view homophobic slurs differently, with some criticizing homophobic language and others viewing them as a natural part of the gamer language that does not need change.