Casey O’Donnell

Casey O’Donnell is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Telecommunication, Information Studies and Media at Michigan State University. His research examines the creative collaborative work of videogame design and development. This research examines the cultural and collaborative dynamics that occur in both professional “AAA” organizations and formal and informal “independent” game development communities. His research has spanned game development companies from the United States to India. His research examines issues of work, production, copyright, as well as third world and postcolonial aspects of the videogame development workplace. Casey is also an active game developer, releasing his first independent game, “Osy,” in February of 2011.

What one insight from your field, approach, method, findings etc. do you think is most important for scholars working in this topical area?

I think one of the most important things for us to do is to use our insights to help connect the “lived local” to “broader social and political phenomena.” The historical is important as well, because as much changes, there is a great deal that persists, and often that is of critical import. Its for this reason that I really like the combination of historical and ethnographic methods.

What are two issues that are not adequately treated within current work on cultural production in the digital age in your field or in others?

The connections between the global and the local. We grasp for frames to help us analyze this, but continually focus either too locally or too abstractly.

Are humanistic values such as justice, equality, democracy or (insert preferred humanistic value here) currently served by cultural production in a digital networked environment?

I am guilty of not asking those kinds of questions often enough, at least explicitly. That isn’t to say they aren’t present in my interest in questions of “for whom?” “by whom?” etc. I want to see more voices actively taking part in cultural production… So maybe that is equality/democracy, but I’ve not rallied behind those words… Free speech, perhaps.