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    Ontology and interdisciplinary research in esports

    Brock, Tom ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0965-0945 (2023) Ontology and interdisciplinary research in esports. Sport, Ethics and Philosophy. pp. 1-17. ISSN 1751-1321

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    This article identifies the benefits of adopting a critical realist ontology to researching esports in the social sciences. The article outlines some of the challenges in researching esports, paying particular attention to the emerging specialisms and sub-disciplines. The article suggests that different schools of thought have different ontological and epistemological commitments, resulting in a complex and somewhat fragmented or contested set of definitions and research directives. The article considers how the philosophy of science can enable researchers to gain a more complete understanding and appreciation of esports. More specifically, the article outlines some of the central philosophical commitments of critical realism and considers their benefits for researching the multi-layered and multifaceted nature of esports. What results is a stratified ontology of esports, in which various biological, psychological and sociological factors interact to produce emergent outcomes at micro, meso and macro levels of causality. Such an interdisciplinary approach resists previous attempts to reduce esports research to singular (and competing) epistemological claims. Instead, this article invites sports researchers to investigate the complex ways natural and social factors interact to generate and change esports structures, institutions and agential behaviours.

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