Barbarians at the Imperium Gates: Organizational Culture and Change in EVE Online

Milik, Oskar and Webber, Nick (2017) Barbarians at the Imperium Gates: Organizational Culture and Change in EVE Online. Journal of Virtual Worlds Research, 10 (3). ISSN 1941-8477

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This article looks at organizational culture and identity of different organisations in EVE Online, using a combination of critical historical and ethnographic approaches. We argue that it is helpful to understand major organizations in EVE as analogous to early polities, in terms of the ways in which claims to leadership and power are demonstrated (for example through the writing of history). Yet, as we show, these organizations have strong cultures which demonstrate resilience and a resistance to top-down cultural change, meaning that the successful implementation of such change is governed by rank-and-file members rather than their leadership. We propose that the cultural (rather than political or social) nature of this resilience is centrally important in understanding how organizations in EVE function. This unity of practices and understanding allows EVE’s major organizations to suffer huge losses to their position and prestige, and yet remain viable communities and potentially resurgent powers. This seems to challenge the ‘social network’-type descriptions often used to explain the persistent groups seen in many online games.

Item Type: Article
3 July 2017Submitted
9 November 2017Accepted
December 2017Published Online
Subjects: CAH24 - media, journalism and communications > CAH24-01 - media, journalism and communications > CAH24-01-05 - media studies
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Design and Media > Birmingham School of Media
Depositing User: Nick Webber
Date Deposited: 14 Jan 2018 15:12
Last Modified: 20 Mar 2023 16:17

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