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Simulated stereotypes turning the unreal real: An analysis of representations of the ‘Other’ in traditional media forms and digital games

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We live in a world in which we constantly interact with distant cultures through media forms. The media, as the name implies, does not provide a direct link to these different cultures but barely mediates this interaction by presenting constructions of these cultures. This article explores the representation of Muslims in traditional and digital media forms. Specifically the representation of Muslims in two contemporary image constructors, news and games, is explored as well as the corresponding interconnectedness of these representations. Whilst there has been previous research into the representation of Muslims in news and similarly in video games, none compare and contrast the representational methods of these two image constructors in the way this article does. This article performs a comparative study of Muslim representation in these two seemingly unconnected forms towards the goal of identifying similarities and differences of representation using Muslims as a case study.

The digital realm is often purported as a pantheon for society with the freedom of digital publishing and communication allowing minorities to represent themselves and yet there is evidence to suggest that this is not the case. Existing content incorporates and reflects the general imagination of the Middle East prevalent among the western public as well as the audience’s expectation of particular genres – which have themselves been influenced by news media. What exists here is a complete cycle of ignorance reproducing false representation. This logic seems to dictate construction of representation in both forms.
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Keywords: games; news; phenomenology; representation; simulations; stereotypes

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: National University of Ireland, Maynooth

Publication date: 01 September 2013

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  • The emergence of satellite TV, the internet and digital technology have dramatically changed the way audiences receive information and interact with the media. The sudden success of Al-Jazeera and other Arab broadcasters have altered the way the Arab world narrates itself and reports news from the region to the rest of the world. The journal aims to lead the debate about these emerging rapid changes in media and society in Arab and Muslim parts of the world.
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