From Chess to Queergaming: ‘Play’ing with and disrupting heteronormative assumptions in the performance of gender and sexual orientation

Worst, Steff and O'Shea, Saoirse C. (2020). From Chess to Queergaming: ‘Play’ing with and disrupting heteronormative assumptions in the performance of gender and sexual orientation. Human Resource Development International, 23 pp. 519–541.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/13678868.2020.1764822

Abstract

The conceptual framework presented in this paper draws on metaphors of ‘Game’ and ‘Play’ to illustrate how tacit and invisible heteronormative assumptions and gendered power dynamics pervade organizations. In this way, it illuminates how such assumptions and restrictions impact and marginalize LGBTQ* people that do not conform to heteronormativity. Using metaphors of Chess and MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games), the paper explores limits of prescriptive dualistic understandings of gender and sexual orientation, specifically from the perspective of lesbian women, as basis for disruption and to start opening space for LGBTQ* difference through queergaming.

We argue that the concepts presented are a useful vehicle to increase inclusivity within HRD research and examine its practices more critically. In doing so, the paper seeks to answer calls from within the field of critical human resource development (critical HRD) to diversify HRD scholarship by expanding and challenging prevalent notions of heteronormativity.

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