Foreclosing Possibility in Virtual Worlds:
An Exploration of Language, Space, and Bodies
in the Simulation of Gender and Minecraft
This thesis is a textual analysis and discourse analysis that examines the social and programmatic construction of the videogame Minecraft by interrogating how code, design, and fan modifications limit and facilitate play in and outside the game. This thesis will argue that the constitution of gender—and subjectivity, more broadly—is reflected in the language, space, and bodies that shape the boundaries of the virtual world. What makes a player “cyborgian” when they embody a virtual avatar may have less to do the abstraction of agency into a computerized self and more to do with the way in which humans create and maintain conduits to exist between worlds that are both digital and material.