Year of Award

2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name

Communication Studies

Department or School/College

Communication

Committee Chair

Joel Iverson

Commitee Members

Greg Larson, Jackson Bunch

Keywords

socialization, voluntary association, multilevel communication model, board gaming, serious leisure

Publisher

University of Montana

Subject Categories

Organizational Communication

Abstract

The Dice Tower consists of 30 professional board gamers and has the largest online following with 60,000 podcast listeners and over 140,000 YouTube subscribers (Dice Tower, 2017a). This study uses Kramer’s Multilevel Communication Model of Voluntary Socialization (MCMVS) to understand how the Dice Tower gains followers and socializes others to become board gamers. This study applies MCMVS to a population with more ambiguous membership boundaries than volunteer organizations, specifically socialization to board game leisure. Through interviews of 18 participants and participant observation during a board gaming cruise hosted by the Dice Tower this study examines the role of the Dice Tower and similar organizations in socializing board gamers. Results indicate MCMVS successfully captures socialization to board gaming. MCMVS displays the socialization process of outsiders becoming insiders of an organization, but board gamers do not become members of the Dice Tower. Board gamers voluntarily associate (Putnam, 2001) with organizations such as the Dice Tower. The Dice Tower and similar organizations are Socialization Gateway Organizations (SGO), which serve as a socialization resource for recruitment, networking, and guiding board game purchases.

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© Copyright 2018 Benjamin Wassink