T. L. Taylor

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T. L. Taylor
T.L. Taylor speaking
T.L. Taylor speaking.
Academic background
Alma mater Brandeis University
Thesis Living Digitally: Embodiment in Virtual Environments (2000)
Academic work
Main interests Sociology, video games

T. L. Taylor (born 1967) is an American sociologist and professor. Taylor specialises in researching the culture of gaming and online communities, in particular, eSports, live-streaming, and MMOGs such as EverQuest and World of Warcraft.


She received her Ph.D. (2000) in sociology from Brandeis University. Her dissertation, Living Digitally: Embodiment in Virtual Environments, explored design and embodiment in MUDs and graphical virtual worlds.[1][2]


Taylor was a founding faculty member of the Center for Computer Games Research at the IT University of Copenhagen where she was a professor from 2003-2012. Before that she was an assistant professor at North Carolina State University. She is currently a Professor in Comparative Media Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.[3] During 2012-2013 she was a Visiting Researcher with the Social Media group at Microsoft Research New England.[4] She also currently serves as Director of Research for AnyKey.org. Taylor is on the editorial boards of the journals Games & Culture and Social Media and Society.


Taylor has been noted as providing insight into the emerging world of live-streaming, professional eSports,[5] the dynamics of ethnic stereotyping in virtual worlds,[6] the relationship between the self-expression of players in a virtual world and designers' imperatives,[7] and as challenging the perceived dichotomy between online and offline experience.[8]

Her first book, Play Between Worlds (MIT Press, 2006) focused on the massively multiplayer online game EverQuest. It explored the social aspects of play, powergaming, gender, and the creative practices of players (including intellectual property implications). Taylor's second book, Raising the Stakes (MIT Press, 2012), examined professional computer gaming. She visited the World Cyber Games, as well as a number of other tournaments and did interviews with a variety of participants in professional competitive gaming. The book looks at a number of topics in eSports, including their status as sports,[2] rulesets and competitive play, gender, and spectatorship and performance.

In addition to her work on these subjects, she has also spoken and written on doing ethnographic work that spans both online and offline sites. She is the co-author (with Tom Boellstorff, Bonnie Nardi, and Celia Pearce) of Ethnography and Virtual Worlds: A Handbook of Method (Princeton, 2012).

Selected publications[edit]

  • Taylor, T.L. (2012). Raising the Stakes: E-sports and the Professionalization of Computer Gaming. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. 
  • Taylor, T.L. (2012). Ethnography and Virtual Worlds: A Handbook of Method (co-authored with Tom Boellstorff, Bonnie Nardi, and Celia Pearce). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. 
  • Taylor, T.L. (2006a). Play Between Worlds: Exploring Online Game Culture. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. 
  • Taylor, T.L. (2006b). "Does WoW Change Everything?: How a PvP Server, Multinational Playerbase, and Surveillance Mod Scene Caused Me Pause". Games and Culture. 


  1. ^ Taylor, T.L. "Living Digitally: Embodiment in Virtual Worlds". CiteSeerX accessible. 
  2. ^ a b Tucker, Staci. "Books Aren't Dead: Staci Tucker with T.L. Taylor". Books Aren't Dead. Fembot. Retrieved 19 July 2013. 
  3. ^ "MIT Comparative Media Studies: Faculty". Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Retrieved 2013-01-25. 
  4. ^ "New England Lab Current Members' Bios - Microsoft Research". Microsoft Research. Retrieved 2013-01-25. 
  5. ^ "Review of Raising the Stakes". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 2013-07-02. 
  6. ^ Hammer, Rhonda; Kellner, Douglas (2009-04-21). Media/Cultural Studies: Critical Approaches. Peter Lang Publishing. p. 598. ISBN 0820495263. 
  7. ^ Lister, Martin; Dovey, Jon; Giddings, Seth; Grant, Iain; Kelly, Kieran (2009-01-29). New Media: A Critical Introduction. Routledge. p. 212. ISBN 0415431611. 
  8. ^ Egenfeldt-Nielsen, Simon; Smith, Jonas Heide; Tosca, Susana Pajares (2008-02-15). Understanding Video Games: The Essential Introduction. Routledge. p. 168. ISBN 0415977207. 

External links[edit]