Thesis

The poetics of credit

In 2004, the online game World of Warcraft was released. Populated by avatars, online characters representing the human player, Warcraft established as part of its game mechanic an economy that encouraged in-game labor, trade, and capital exchange. Soon after, a monetary exchange proliferated so that players would purchase in-game capital (Azerothian gold) by means of national currencies, most commonly between China, the United States and Western Europe. This monetary exchange between a gaming world's currency and national currencies is now a black market of extranational capital exchange possible within an electronic medium that poses significant challenges to claims of national borders and authority. The United States' use of a fiat-currency and the proliferation of credit-money, also now utilizing electronic mediums for its capital exchange, engages this study in an interrogation of material claims of value, value as a component of signification, as well as the metaphoric translation of the material into immaterial realms and vice versa. The credit profile then becomes an avatar itself; a narrative copy of a referential person placed within an immaterial language-game that determines a value of the individual. This value commonly referred to as a credit score, makes a commodity of our identities within capitalism, and its construction within a system of language makes the use of semiotics necessary in its analysis - this is the poetics of credit. Key Words: Semiotics, poetics, credit, signification, immaterial, language-game.

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