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Jumping the Gap: Indie Labour and the Imagined Indie Community


Jumping the Gap: Indie Labour and the Imagined Indie Community

Browne, Pierson (2015) Jumping the Gap: Indie Labour and the Imagined Indie Community. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Due to the recent proliferation of free-to-use, professional-quality development tools, crowdsourced fundraising, and the ascendency of digital distribution platforms, ‘indie’ digital game developers are emerging on an unprecedented scale. Based on ethnographic research conducted at indie accelerator Execution Labs from January to June of 2015, this thesis explores how indie developers frame risk, creativity, success, and failure in relation to the communities they are a part of. The first three chapters highlight useful concepts from Gina Neff’s ‘Venture Labour’ (2012), describe Execution Labs from the researcher’s perspective, and detail the researcher’s approach to collaborative embedded ethnography, respectively. The fourth chapter is dedicated to two related purposes: the first part will posit that communities of indie developers and indie fans share a common creative discourse, and thus constitute what Benedict Anderson has termed an ‘Imagined Community’ (2006). The latter portion of the chapter will explore how Newgrounds.com facilitated discourses about digital games and Macromedia Flash, and how the resultant imagined communities have influenced contemporary indie identity and development practice. The final chapter opens by proposing a definition of ‘indie labour’: a creative, communitarian strategy with which indie developers manage the risks they face. It will then consider the stories of those who performed indie labour as part of Execution Labs. This thesis will conclude by ruminating on potential future avenues of study and ongoing issues that hinder indie development’s potential as an open and accessible praxis.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Communication Studies
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Browne, Pierson
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Media Studies
Date:November 2015
Thesis Supervisor(s):Consalvo, Mia
ID Code:980737
Deposited On:07 Jun 2016 19:23
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:51
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