The popular geopolitics of military video games: Answering the ‘Call of Duty’

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Call of Duty

Daniel Bos was awarded ESRC +3 funding in 2011 to research the popular geopolitics of military video games. The research will specifically focus on the geopolitical and militaristic significance of commercial first-person shooter video games, such as ‘Call of Duty’. Furthermore, the project will use multiple, innovative methods to investigate players’ engagements with the games.
The research will contribute to current academic discussions by:

  • Moving beyond a purely representative and narrative analysis of the structures of the game worlds. The project will thus aim to direct attention to how these game worlds resonate with the actual players who participate in them. The research will aim to investigate the significance of popular culture on the cultivation of political and cultural identities and attitudes.
  • Examining the affective, emotive and experiential aspects of the games and how they connect with geopolitical and military discourse and practice. Through human geography’s recent turn towards Non-Representational Theory (NRT), the project will examine the emerging relationships forged between virtual environments, bodies and technologies.
  • Incorporating a mixed methods approach, examining the online and offline environments in which these games are experienced. The project will employ established methods such as interviews, focus groups and ethnographic observation, but also look to integrate progressive and innovative methods such as video game elicitation in order to engage with the everyday interactions of individuals and groups.

The project will employ the theoretical lens of popular geopolitics and advance understandings of the strand’s emerging interest with the audiences of popular cultural texts. By engaging with the audience, the project will set to provide a richer understanding of the circulation of geopolitical discourse and practice within the domain of the everyday. Additionally, through examining the affective potentialities of these video games, the project will empirically investigate the more-than-representational means in which these games resonate with players.
This project is on-going, due for completion in late 2014.



Daniel Bos

Daniel BosDaniel is a doctoral student based in Geography researching the popular geopolitics of military video games. His main interests are in the burgeoning field of popular geopolitics, alongside the intimate relationship between the military and popular culture. His PhD research is positioned at the intersection between popular culture and world politics, with an explicit focus on how audiences engage, interact and consume commercial military video games, such as ‘Call of Duty’. Furthermore, Daniel is interested in more-than-representational epistemologies, and aims to direct attention to the visceral, emotive and affective capabilities characteristic of these video games.

Daniel holds a BA (Hons) degree in Geography from Newcastle University (2009) and an MA Human Geography Research (Newcastle University, 2011). Previous research dissertations have focused on audience engagements with military video games and population growth in peri-urban locations. Daniel has experience as a Research Assistant at Newcastle University (2010), working on projects focusing on contemporary military memoirs, military landscapes and an examination of the media coverage of the military repatriations at Wootton Bassett.

Daniel welcomes enquiries from those interested in any aspects of his work, and remains keen to speak to players of Call of Duty and related games about their experiences.

Contact Details:

School of Geography Politics and Sociology
Newcastle University
Newcastle upon Tyne

Tel: 0191 208 8510


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