David Kempf

KU Eichstätt-Ingolstadt

Am Marktplatz 2

85072 Eichstätt

David Kempf studied Philosophy and Sociology at Universität Witten/Herdecke, Freie Universität Berlin and Goldsmiths College, London. He held a scholarship by the German Academic Scholarship Foundation.

At GRK ‘Practicing Place’ he is preparing his dissertation under the working title Simulation as a Game. In this work he seeks to explore the mutual influences of scientific simulation, quantification, and play, focusing on the example of the videogame ‘Football Manager’. The research builds on sociological practice theory and understands the videogame as a virtual place that organizes and holds together the various practices being involved.

Simulation as a Game

In my dissertation I seek to explore the videogame Football Manager from a practice-theoretical, sociological perspective. Football Manager is a simulation that strives for a realistic representation of professional football. The data gathered is so accurate that even professional football clubs rely on it. I am interested in how this almost scientific work becomes a game – and what effects this yields. It is therefore necessary to establish the complexity of the many different layers and influences involved. This is achieved by locating these layers in the realm of practices that can be traced.Grasping Football Manager as a place accounts for the unity of the different practices that yield the game. The notion of place is used analytically, as a methodological device that frames the whole approach. It thus helps to construct and limit the specific field of the research. In order to trace the practices, I use an ethnographic approach. This involves turning towards autoethnographies of my own playing experiences, blog and social media posts, let’s play videos, and qualitative interviews as well as participant observation with the developers. I understand ethnography not only as an empirical method but as a specific way of doing research that is radically explorative and shares many fundamentals with practice theory. Important practices that I want to focus are simulating as a scientific and playful practice; the dominant role of an anticipated yet never realized future embodied by talented young players; the playing of Football Manager as a practice of daydreaming.