Edited by Christoph Beat Graber and Mira Burri-Nenova
Chapter 2: Beyond Billiard Balls: Transnational Flows, Cultural Diversity and Digital Games
Aphra Kerr INTRODUCTION Current mass media policy and regulation in Western Europe is primarily state-based and increasingly functioning under the presumption that a competitive market will maximise individual choice and diversity. Policy interventions are primarily justified in terms of specific market failures including concentration of producers in the marketplace, the need to reward content developers financially for their work and issues related to distribution bottlenecks.1 Nevertheless, it is clear that at the national and European levels, public interest and cultural arguments also inform policy development and regulation. New media, including online and offline digital games, represent a new area for policymakers at the national and international levels. This chapter aims to contribute to our understanding of how digital games operate as markets and as social and cultural activities in order to inform discussions about the need for policy interventions. Two significant challenges face us as we attempt to assess the usefulness and applicability of a ‘cultural diversity’ discourse in the contemporary media context. First globalisation, with its associated flows of people, goods, services, technology and ideas, has challenged how academics and regulators think about culture and the media, and has shifted attention away from the national to the transnational, the translocal and the regional.2 Thinking about culture and cultural diversity has had to shift from the national frame to a 1 Nicholas Garnham, Emancipation, the Media and Modernity: Arguments about the Media and Social Theory, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000, at p. 59. 2 Arjun Appadurai, ‘Disjuncture and Difference in...
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