Rethinking spaces of political agency: A phenomenological study on Philippine perceptions of political agency in video games vis-à-vis the real world

Date of Publication


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Political Science

Subject Categories

Political Science


College of Liberal Arts


Political Science

Thesis Advisor

Antonio P. Contreras

Defense Panel Chair

Ma. Divina Gracia Z. Roldan

Defense Panel Member

Dennis S. Erasga
Julio C. Teehankee


Politics as a sphere of life for the human individual can inflict many circumstances and experiences which vary on locally contextualized minutiae and lived realities. The lived experiences of individuals within certain regions point to a marked lack of agency, and feelings of “political powerlessness”. Circumstances alienate members of society from fully participating and enjoying their rights and freedoms as citizens. This is a pervasive problem that has persisted for quite some time. Meanwhile, digital technologies have opened avenues for individual expression and action that traditional forms of media lack. Video games specifically have evolved beyond simple objective-based past-times. Now, video games are geared toward providing complex narratives driven by player choice, by which actions result in different events and states for the internally simulated world. By utilizing in-game avatars to perform significant actions with lasting impacts in the game world, individuals may derive a sense of enhanced agency based on the needs of the video games’ narratives and its virtual environment. Utilizing Mukherjee’s Deleuzoguattarian framework in understanding video games as “zones of becoming”, the researcher analyzed players’ perception of video games as possible alternate avenues to exercise political agency through a phenomenological approach. This study explored individual Filipino perceptions on political and ideological actions carried out in video games, and whether such recreations are significant to instill feelings of agency in the player but was unable to establish a distinctly Filipino perspective or contrast this with non-Filipino views. Overall, this thesis illustrated that while feelings of political alienation may be inflicted upon individuals by their respective societies, virtual landscapes in video games may provide avenues to form a sense of agency to effectively participate in political processes given proper perspectives and analysis, even only as a foundational parallel that may possibly lead to enhanced political engagement in real life.

Abstract Format






Physical Description

172 leaves


Political alienation--Philippines; Video games

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