Comrades, I come before you today to announce a bold and ambitious project I dreamt up after playing video games and drinking late into the night. I’ve just started replaying Skyrim – I actually intend to finish it this time – in French. Ostensibly to improve in this area, but mainly to put off essay writing. Basically, over the course of the year, or however long it takes, I plan to write up a fairly comprehensive sociology of the world of Bethesda’s famous RPG, Skyrim. When I say comprehensive, I literally mean from a demographic analysis of the region, its cities, its rulers and the various outlaws and wrongdoers that populate the area right down to analysing the fine details and dynamics at play in its social world.
Obviously, this is only intended semi-seriously, but there is a point here. Firstly, it’ll serve as a great introduction to Sociology for anyone who likes video games, fantasy or just unconventional approaches – certainly better than trying to hack through pages of Talcott Parsons anyway. But more importantly, often we can only see the inherent absurdities in our own world when they are viewed through the prism of a fictitious one. We may not be able to see the hardship faced by minorities in London, but we can all appreciate the plight of segregated Khajiiti merchants, right? So there we have it. Ever wondered what Max Weber would have to say about the power structure in Draugr communities? Or what Émile Durkheim might think about the bizarre rituals of the Forsworn? Of course you haven’t. Nevertheless, my comprehensive, enlightening and peer-reviewed study will answer both these questions and far more.