Mapping the Imaginary—Maps in Fantasy Role-Playing Games

  • Tobias Röhl University of Constance
  • Regine Herbrik University of Constance
Keywords: maps, cartography, role-playing games, video hermeneutics, sociological hermeneutics, visual sociology

Abstract

This paper deals with cartographic representations as means of communicating the imaginary using maps in fantasy role-playing games as an example. Drawing on SCHUTZian accounts of intersubjectivity and communication we understand maps as one of many strategies to deal with the problem of "medium transcendencies" posed by communicating with others. The methodology of "sociological hermeneutics" (SOEFFNER) is introduced as means of approaching maps and the interactions they are involved in. In our analyses of maps used in role-playing games we can then show that maps are not only a means of locating oneself but also a means of actively creating a meaningful place in which we are entangled. Thus, maps help to form a sense of belonging in (imaginary) territories which are only given to us in mediated form. URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0803255

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Author Biographies

Tobias Röhl, University of Constance
Tobias RÖHL is research assistant in the project "Kommunikative Vermittlungsstrategien des Imaginären" ("Communicating the Imaginary") at the Department of History and Sociology at the University of Constance. His dissertation deals with diagrams and maps and their relevance for human practice in different fields of action. In his previous research he investigated the symbolic dimension of roadside memorials. His current research interests include the sociology of knowledge, phenomenology, methodology of the social sciences and visual sociology.
Regine Herbrik, University of Constance
Regine HERBRIK is research assistant in the project "Kommunikative Vermittlungsstrategien des Imaginären" ("Communicating the Imaginary") at the Department of History and Sociology at the University of Constance. In her dissertation she investigates communicational interactions in face-to-face-encounters (i.e. pen-and-paper-role-playing games) drawing on frame analysis, sociological hermeneutics and video interaction analysis. Previously she worked as editor for the German sociological review journal "Soziologische Revue" and edited a special edition on the sociology of knowledge for that journal with Hans-Georg SOEFFNER. Her current research interests are philosophical (and literary) anthropology, theories of play and game, sociology of knowledge and the interrelation between different modes of communication.
Published
2008-09-28
Section
Thematic Issue