Object-relation mapping: A method for analysing phenomenal assemblages of play

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8 Scopus citations


Theories of play assemblages and technological agency have met popular acceptance in game studies. However, current approaches to empirically examining these notions are limited to resource-intensive ethnographies not suitable for many types of enquiries, particularly those focusing on micro-level analyses and the lived experiences of play. This article proposes an analytical method called ‘object-relation mapping’ (ORM). ORM incorporates techniques from Actor–Network Theory, social network analysis, phenomenology and Grounded Theory to examine phenomenal assemblages of play at micro-, meso- and macro-levels. In particular, ORM provides a systematic framework for collecting, deconstructing, restructuring and coding data gleaned from players’ subjective experience of play. This article outlines ORM’s theoretical underpinnings, techniques, benefits, challenges and extensions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)235-254
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Gaming and Virtual Worlds
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Actor–networks
  • Assemblage of play
  • Digital games
  • Mixed methods
  • Phenomenology
  • Social network analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


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