Ben Hirst

University of Leeds

In this paper, I argue that Antoine Hennion’s work on the construction of taste in the sociology of culture presents an important, and productive, contribution to the sociological study of digital games. In support of this argument, I concentrate on Hennion’s definition of taste as a collective, processual and pragmatic activity, as well as the prominent role given to amateurs in Hennion’s analysis of a range of activities from wine tasting to rock climbing. In covering what I see as some of the key contributions of Hennion’s sociology, I take seriously the suggestion made in ‘Pragmatics of Taste’ (2005) that the approach he develops ought to be expanded to include activities that are too often ignored by the sociology of culture. In this spirit, I use the conceptual framework developed by Hennion to explore how players within the Dark Souls community evaluate the worth of the games they play.

Ben Hirst is a Teaching Fellow in the School of Sociology & Social Policy at the University of Leeds. Ben leads an MA module entitled ‘Videogames & Society’, and is part of an emerging network of scholars interested in the pedagogical potential of digital and non-digital games.