Abstract for SGD Conference

Ah. I couldn’t fit a reference to the ‘logic of the clinic’ into the abstract as it is going to be about school, but the same ‘logic’ is involved, it would seem. Still working this out.

Invited speaker, Scandinavian Game Developers Conference, University of Skövde 3-4 June 2014. Sweden.

Play/able Bodies: Augmentation, Ability and Order in Deus Ex: Human Revolutions
Diane Carr, Institute of Education, University of London

Adam Jensen is the drastically augmented protagonist of Deus Ex: Human Revolutions. Jensen has a long, sad history of uneasy encounters with scientists, clinicians and technologists. He is experimented on as an infant, horribly injured at work, and extensively modified on the orders of his employer. Jensen’s problems with consent, control and technology continue throughout Deus Ex: Human Revolutions. His body is schooled in the sense that it must fit within given roles, spaces and situations. He is continually tested, classified and examined. An interest in division and classification is also evident in the game’s cities and populations. Using textual analysis, this game’s depiction of a damaged and yet perfectible body undergoing continual assessment will be explored. Reference will be made to what disability theorist Tobin Siebers has called the ideology of ability. The ideology of ability contributes to widespread notions of agency, capacity, value, worthiness and entitlement, and it is “so much a part of every action, thought, judgement, and intention that its hold on us is difficult to root out” (Siebers, 2009, p 9). During this presentation Jensen’s troubled body will be discussed, and the uncanny resemblances between Deus Ex: Human Revolutions and educational policy will be traced.

This research into the representation of ability and disability in digital games was undertaken with the support of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK)

Ball, S. (2013) Foucault, Power and Education. London: Routledge
Deus Ex: Human Revolutions (2011) Dev. Eidos Montreal. Publ. Square Enix.
Siebers, T. (2009) Disability Theory. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press


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