Process, Paratexts, and Texts: Rhetorical Analysis and Virtual Worlds
This essay addresses how rhetorical analysis can be applied to the study of virtual worlds. Rhetoric, which focuses on persuasion and ways of knowing, offers a strong, qualitative methodological approach for scholars engaged in virtual worlds research. A background in the history of rhetorical studies is complemented by analysis of how rhetoric has been applied to virtual worlds and game studies to develop a perspective for analysis of three kinds of texts found in the discourse of virtual worlds. These three types of texts: in-world play structures, or procedures; texts surrounding the worlds, or paratexts; and primary texts of virtual worlds, like narrative and images; provide rhetorical scholars plenty of surfaces to critique. Patch 3.3.0 of World of Warcraft is used as a case study to demonstrate how to engage in rhetorical criticism of virtual worlds and how the various texts are presented in practice.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
The full website for the Journal of Virtual Worlds Research can be found at: http://jvwresearch.org