Hossein Mohammadzade

Hossein Mohammadzade has a master’s degree in English Language and Literature. He is currently an independent researcher, and he studies television and videogames. His main area of interest is the relationship between ideology, narrative, and videogames.

Atefe Najjar Mansoor (Independent Researcher)

Democracy or “Tyranny by Morons”? Oppression Through Exploiting the Undereducated

FROG 2022 – Talk

Oppression is not always direct or explicit. For instance, oppression by economic means and oppression by or through the majority are two strong forms of oppression. Rather than being openly taken away by one political power, people’s freedoms can either be made unaffordable and unimaginable through market policies or be taken away indirectly by creating an oppressive, undereducated majority incapable of dialogue even in the same socio-economic class. Moreover, gameworlds are capable of promoting oppression, criticizing it, or providing freedoms that cannot be experienced in the physical world – at least not without consequences. For example, two major videogames, Grand Theft Auto IV and Grand Theft Auto V, give the player various freedoms – which have clearly made them popular – and make implicit and explicit references to the aforementioned forms of oppression, certain neoliberal values, popular beliefs, and contemporary forms of democracy. Therefore, through a close reading of the two games, we try to see if and how these games criticize or promote each of these concepts. We also try to see if these games have their own way of oppressing the player. In addition, such an analysis can help discuss the relationship between ideology, oppression, and freedom in a democracy under neoliberal policies and capitalism, and discuss how such a system might have the potential to provide the means for oppression by economic policies and majorities – contrary to the popular “democracy versus oppression” dichotomy.


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