Zwischen Pathologisierung und Enhancement. Formen der Medikalisierung digitaler Spiele

Görgen, Arno (2020). Zwischen Pathologisierung und Enhancement. Formen der Medikalisierung digitaler Spiele In: Simond, Stefan Heinrich; Görgen, Arno (eds.) Krankheit in Digitalen Spielen. Interdisziplinäre Betrachtungen. Medical Humanities (pp. 17-49). Bielefeld: transcript Verlag 10.14361/9783839453285-003

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The term »medicalization« describes a process in which non-medical prob-lems are explained and solved in medical terms. This often happens through the defi-nition of disease categories. Medicalization as a multifactorial process leads to the pathologization of certain phenomena, to an associated expansion of social control and, in the context of the economization of medicine, to increased social inequality. The expansion of medical competence can take place as a primary medicalization on an institutional and structural level, or as a secondary medicalization on an epistemo-logical level. The latter encompasses the circulation of all medical knowledge in soci-ety and (popular) culture.Digital games are also implemented into this medical structure of integration, on the one hand in the form of serious games as a medicalized technology and their use as therapeutic, diagnostic, educational or research tools. On the other hand, commercial games are secondarily medicalized, if they use medical semantics to plausibilize their narrative or game mechanics. Thirdly, games can critically question medicalization as a process and thus provide a normative commentary on problems of medicalization.The operationalization of the concept of medicalization for the analysis of digital games is carried out in the following steps: First, the concept of primary medicalization, its causes, characteristics and consequences are outlined. As a second step interfaces of media and cultural analysis regarding medicalization are identified in the context of the sociocultural circulation of medical knowledge (secondary medicalization). Third-ly, it will be shown to what extent one can speak of medicalization of digital games and which categories could form a meaningful analytical tool kit. Finally, by means of the games Red Dead Redemption 2 (Rockstar Studios 2018) and Spider-Man (Insomniac Games 2018), the elaborated aspects are applied in two brief qualitative analyses.

Item Type:

Book Section (Book Chapter)


Bern Academy of the Arts
Bern Academy of the Arts > Institute of Design Research


Simond, Stefan Heinrich;
Görgen, Arno0000-0001-9319-4497 and
Görgen, Arno0000-0001-9319-4497


N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
R Medicine > RZ Other systems of medicine




Medical Humanities


transcript Verlag


Organisations 10 not found.


[UNSPECIFIED] Horror - Game - Politics




Arno Görgen

Date Deposited:

09 Dec 2020 15:30

Last Modified:

09 Dec 2020 15:30

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Medikalisierung; Pathologisierung; Soziale Kontrolle; Entgrenzung; Medizintheorie; Game Studies; Computerspiel; Videospiel




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