This article analyzes Free Rice within the context of “the rise of the ludic sublime,” where video games are hailed as the solution to highly sophisticated political problems. As part of what we call practices of “philitainment,” Free Rice, we argue, functions within the political domain of what Jodi Dean has termed “communicative capitalism” and therefore both captures resistance and actually solidifies global capitalism. Ultimately, this case study of Free Rice reveals ways in which practices of philitainment signal the proliferation of a convergence between the technological sublime and neoliberal politics through which the disinvestment of the state from social problems is legitimized and reproduced through a reconfiguration of citizenship in terms of techno-consumerism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)342-361
Number of pages20
JournalCommunication and Critical/ Cultural Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2 2014


  • Critical Theory
  • Development
  • Digital Games
  • Governmentality
  • Philitainment


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