Is it Just Me or Are the Imperials Getting Darker? Race and the Elder Scrolls: Skyrim


Within the popular video game, The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim players can discover a number of references, consciously included or not, to the search for the Arryan race performed in Europe during the late 1800s. Within the game, books, character quotes, and narrative foundations trace the original scientific discussion that formed the basis for present day Neo-Nazi, White supremacist, and White nationalist movements. With that in mind, this research presents a casestudy of a confrontation between a virtual community, the members of the Stormfront web forum, and a video game, The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim. Members of the Stormfront community indicated that an unwanted degree of multiculturalism was present inside the game despite its being closely aligned to their belief system and omni-present political struggle. The resulting forum-based discussion presents a unique opportunity to examine how virtual or procedural rhetoric interacts with the world writ large. From using the game as an opportunity to recruit new members to a discussion of how the various races of Tamriel have changed in appearance through each iteration, the resulting discussion displays the sensitivity this group has to appearance and how the boundaries of that sensitivity are maintained. Through discourse analysis of posts in a thread on Stormfront paired with game creator discourse ininterviews, wikis, and press releases, this research examines how matters of race are expressed within and about The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim.

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