Leadership, Popular Culture and Social Change
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Leadership, Popular Culture and Social Change

Edited by Kristin M.S. Bezio and Kimberly Yost

The newest generation of leaders was raised on a steady diet of popular culture artifacts mediated through technology, such as film, television and online gaming. As technology expands access to cultural production, popular culture continues to play an important role as an egalitarian vehicle for promoting ideological dissent and social change. The chapters in this book examine works and creators of popular culture – from literature to film and music to digital culture – in order to address the ways in which popular culture shapes and is shaped by leaders around the globe as they strive to change their social systems for the better.
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Chapter 10: Ready, aim, feel: empathy, identification and leadership in video games

Kristin M.S. Bezio


Within the past decade, video games—often associated with violence and shooting—have entered a new stage in their development as a sophisticated and even artistic medium. In light of popular and news attacks on the ethical value of games, many independent development companies and designers have sought to make use of digital platforms to evolve the medium away from violent (or, at least, only violent) content and to use digital gameplay to encourage empathy and human connectivity. In this chapter, I discuss a few examples of these games, including Journey (thatgamecompany, 2012) and the Mass Effect series (2007–17) both of which use the interactivity to evoke imaginative empathy and produce a common human connection via digital gaming, thereby encouraging players to engage in leadership and transformational change in the real world.

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