Loyola University Chicago

Department of Sociology

Dr. J. Talmadge Wright


J. Talmadge Wright
Associate Professor

Ph.D., Social Science
University of California, Irvine, 1985
M.A. Social Science
University of California, Irvine, 1980
B.A., Psychology
Sonoma State University, 1972

Coffey Hall 433
(773) 508-3451



Current Research Interests
Dr. Wright's current research uses a cultural sociological perspective to investigate the ritualistic and social character of digital gaming, with a special emphasis on those who play first person shooter games (FPS) on-line, i.e. Counter-Strike and Massive Multi-player On-Line Role Playing Games (MMORPGs), i.e. World of Warcraft. These studies examine the meaning of on-line digital game playing for participants, the diversity of social relationships that emerge out of such play, and the role of digital game culture in the contemporary division of labor. An adjunct of this research is a focus on the enactment of particular forms of masculinity through violent entertainment as well as examining the changed character of play in the modern world. Finally, this research also examines the relationship between consumption, gender, visual media, play and pleasure, and a critical understanding of social inequality and development.

For those on-line participants of World of Warcraft who have been invited to give an interview, please click on the following link to read the , which explains in more detail the project, “Conflict, Cooperation and Social Solidarity in Virtual Worlds.”  

The second project is an in-depth examination of media representations of homeless persons. These representations will be correlated with a ten year examination of homeless activism and homeless activist responses in the San Francisco Bay region. Working with the Bay Area Homelessness Program, at San Francisco State University (1996-2004), 45 interviews with homeless activists, plus documents were gathered throughout 8 Bay Area cities comparing differences in homeless activism, strategy and tactics. In addition, ten years of news reports have been coded for Sonoma County's Press Democrat and compared, using event analysis, with local activist responses between 1990 and 2000. A clear criminalization of the homeless between 1990-2000 is indicated by the increasing linkages made between homeless individuals in the news and crime stories.

Previously, Dr. Wright researched the usage of social space, survival strategies of homeless persons and city redevelopment policies in Chicago, the San Francisco Bay region, and in Orange County, California. He has also published work on marketing, architectural design and popular culture, social theory and social-physical space.

Selected Publications, Conferences, Honors
Producing the Social in Virtual Realms. In Social Exclusion, Power and Video Game Play: New Research in Digital Media and Technology. (2012). David Embrick, Talmadge Wright and Andras Lukacs, co-editors. Lexington Books. 63-84

Social Exclusion, Power and Video Game Play: New Research in Digital Media and Technology. (2012). David Embrick, Talmadge Wright and Andras Lukacs, co-editors. Lexington Press.  This is the second volume designed to work with our first volume on play, technology and sociology.

Utopic Dreams and Apocalyptic Fantasies: Critical Approaches to Researching Video Game Play. (2010). David Embrick, Andras Lukacs, co-editors. Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, Inc. An edited volume which examines the relationship between sociology, play and digital technology. 

Media and Violence: From Media Effects to Moral Panics. In Battleground: the Media, edited by Robin Andersen and Jonathan Gray. NY: Praeger Press. 2008. 549-557.

Themed Environments and Virtual Spaces: Video Games, Violent Play and Digital Enemies. In The Themed Space: Locating Culture, Nation, and Self, edited by Scott A. Lukas. NY: Lexington Books. 2007. Referred publication. 247-270.

Learning to Play: Game Entry, Male Peer Friendship Networks and FPS Digital Games. Gamers in Society, Play in Culture, Third Annual Game Studies Seminar, University of Tampere Game Research Lab, Tampere, Finland, April 2007

Midwest Sociological Society, Omaha, Nebraska. April 2006.

w/co-author Anne Roschelle. Gentrification and Social Exclusion: Spatial Policing and Homeless Activist Responses in the San Francisco Bay Area. Urban Futures:Critical Commentaries on Shaping Cities, edited by Malcom Miles and Tim Hall. London: Routledge press. 2003, pg. 149-166.

w/co-author Paul Breidenbach. Virtual Violence, Social Meaning and Gender: Competition and Cooperation Between FPS Game Players. Conference on the Challenge of Computer Games, Department of Media and Audio-Visual Culture, University of Lodz, Poland. October 2002.

w/co-authors, Paul Briedenbach and Eric Boria. Creative Player Actions in FPS On-Line Video Games: Playing Counter-Strike. Game Studies: The International Journal of Computer Game Research. V. 2, #2, December 2002.

Resisting Homelessness: Global, National, and Local Solutions. Contemporary Sociology. V. 29, #1, 27-43. Symposium - Utopian Visions: Engaged Sociologies for the 21st Century. 2000.

New Urban Spaces and Cultural Representations: Social Imagineries, Social Space, and Homelessness. Researching Urban Sociology, V.5. JAI Press. New Perspectives in Urban Sociology Series. 23-57. 2000.

Outstanding Scholarship Award for Out of Place: Homeless Mobilizations, Subcities and Contested Landscapes. Marxist Section, American Sociological Association. 1998.

Out of Place: Homeless Mobilization, Subcities and Contested Landscapes. Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 1997. This work explores the relationship between homeless group mobilizations, cultural representations and contested social spaces within the cities of Chicago, Illinois and San Jose, California.

Huth, Mary Jo and Wright, Talmadge (eds.). International Critical Perspectives on Homelessness. Praeger Publishers. An edited volume incorporating revised papers presented at several panels on homelessness at the XIII World Congress of Sociology in 1994, Bielefeld, Germany. 1997

w/co-author Hutchinson, Ray.Socio-Spatial Reproduction and the Built Environment: Marketing Culture and Urban Change. Researching Urban Sociology, V.4. JAI Press. New Perspective in Urban Sociology Series. 187-214. 1997

New City Spaces, Social Exclusions, and Cultural Representations: Connecting Theory and Practice. Stadtentwicklung und Obdachlosigkeit in Berlin: Conference on City Restructuring and Homelessness. Sponsored by the J.F. Kennedy Institute, Freire Universität Berlin. Berlin, Germany. October 1997