Techniques of Neutralization in Narratives of Addicted Gamers

Author: Nadine Jukschat

Published in June 2021 in Psychological Studies


Due to a hegemony of psychology, the phenomenon of addicted gaming tends to be conceptualized as a chronic illness. Taking a sociological perspective requires reframing the phenomenon: As deviant behavior, and therefore as a behavior, that goes against behavioral expectations of social groups. Such change of perspective raises new questions and sheds light on aspects of the phenomenon that have been unstudied so far. The article takes one step in this direction and applies the concept of neutralization as a heuristic to study how gamers classified as addicted make sense of their deviant gaming practices. Analyses of biographical-narrative interviews with addicted gamers indicate that they use five neutralization techniques in order to carry out their deviant practices without generally questioning social norms, these are rejection of individual responsibility, trivializing revaluation, positive revaluation, revaluation of deviance as self-determined choice and condemnation of instances of social control.

Open Access. View article on SpringerLink

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