Trouble in virtual heaven : Origin and consequences of social conflict in online consumption communities
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionKristiansen, A. A., Lindberg, F. & Tempelhaug, A. (2022). Trouble in virtual heaven: Origin and consequences of social conflict in online consumption communities. Journal of Consumer Culture. doi: 10.1177/14695405221127347
This paper analyzes social conflicts among amateur computer gamers who are playing online multiplayer games. Whereas prior research tends to focus on the passion and fun of consumption community, or negative individual consequences of gaming, our research contributes with theorization of the role of social conflicts within and across gaming communities. The empirical data consists of two data collecting phases. We develop our understanding of gaming communities and culture through virtual ethnography and netnography. Then we conduct interviews with young adult gamers who belong to six communities. Our findings show four types of social conflicts; those between casual versus competitive logics, depending on skills and power, immoral behavior, and troubles of team alignment, which are related to routinized, prerogative or transgressive conflict cultures. We discuss how the study contributes with new knowledge on consumption mediated social conflicts and suggest a model of the relationship between conflict cultures, conflict types and implications.