Chess and Twitch : Cultural Convergence Through Digital Platforms

Detta är en Master-uppsats från Södertörns högskola/Medie- och kommunikationsvetenskap

Sammanfattning: This thesis studies online fan communities, using the recent popularity of chess on live streamingplatform as a case study to examine audience and cultural convergence between high and popular culture in a digital community setting. Bourdieu’s theoretical concepts field and capital are utilised in order to investigate changing structures and norms within this converging chess field. Affordances of the Twitch platform, too, are considered as key role players in the transformation ofchess culture online. Through participant observation in a live stream channel and through content analysis of online forum materials discussing the Twitch-hosted amateur chess "PogChamps"tournament, the study’s findings suggest that the introduction of a new platform like Twitch into a fieldlike the chess field can fundamentally restructure the community. This can occur because of platform affordances that offer new means for community members to accumulate valuable capital by setting new terms for what constitutes valuable capital and what it means to be "in the know" in the field. Additionally, by bringing new audiences to the chess community, Twitch is a key influencer indeveloping what can be seen as a new form of fan community centred around chess that emphasises spectacle and entertainment above game proficiency. These findings, the thesis concludes, can beapplied in similar community contexts in order to further understand the dynamic nature of online communities. 

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