Talk by Dr Gagunjoat S. Chhina On “The Indian Video Gaming Parlour: Embodiment, Field and Physical Space”

In my research I set out to analyse the subjective game play experience outside of a Western context focusing on how player experience is framed through different cultural and social conditions in India. My overarching argument is that the practice of video gaming in India is becoming, to a certain extent, more routinized and part of the everyday. Drawing upon ethnographic data collected in Chandigarh India, I interpret how this process is played out in the gaming spaces, and particularly in video gaming parlours. Fundamentally, I am concerned with how Indian actors contextually position the new practice of video gaming, and with how this has led to establishing a practice with its own field-specific habitus.Through the concept of distinction, I examine the effects of video games as institutions which create and reproduce social structures in what Bourdieu calls fields as a competitive site where there is a struggle for power between the dominant and subordinate classes. Gaming parlours in India are consciously created and restricted in an attempt to carve a space for the Indian gamer. Through an examination of the process by which high capital entrepreneurial actors create a physical space for a field, I consider the creation of the Indian gaming parlour Indulgence and how various choices in its location and its material arrangement are consciously created to attract and direct actors. Comparative data from my secondary Manchester field site, Kyoto Lounge, illustrates how while the physical spaces contain similar fields, they are glocalised very differently for local tastes and conventions.


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