Emil Lundedal Hammar's research expertise intersects between game studies, political economy, critical race theory, and cultural memory studies, where his doctoral thesis addressed how digital games, race, colonialism, and political economy intertwine to reinforce dominant hegemonic understandings of the past. His current research focuses on labor conditions in the Nordic game industries.
While much media coverage and research have covered how the games industry is increasingly moving to unionize, the primary discussion has mostly been at a national level. As a consequence, international differences and exploitative economic relations between game workers in the so-called Global North and the Global South are overlooked to the detriment of international solidarity and provides ammunition for union-busting by major game companies.
This presentation by Emil Lundedal Hammar focuses on such challenges by introducing the Marxist concept of labor aristocracy to identify where unionization and collective organizing in the game industries in the ‘imperial core’ face difficulty. The presentation does so through gathered qualitative data from game workers, organizers, union representatives, and leaders of international organizations. In sum, the presentation clears a forward path for both production research in game studies and labor organizing in the Western games industry through a global perspective on international material relations and historical materialism.
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