This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

The Tragedy of the Gamer: A Dramatistic Study of GamerGate




Langenbach, Mason

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis


Communication and Journalism


In August 2014, a small but active group of gamers began a relentless online harassment campaign against notable women in the videogame industry in a controversy known as GamerGate. In response, game journalists from several prominent gaming websites published op-eds condemning the incident and declared that “gamers are dead.” Using Burke’s dramatistic method, this thesis will examine these articles as operating within the genre of tragedy, outlining the journalists’ efforts to scapegoat the gamer. It will argue that game journalists simultaneously engaged in mortification not to purge the guilt within themselves but to further the scapegoating process. An extension of dramatistic theory will be offered which asserts that mortification can be appropriated by rhetors seeking to ascend within their social order’s hierarchy.