Seduction as Control: Gamification at Foursquare

Christopher S. Chapman, Tanya Fiedler, Wai Fong Chua

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


Post-disciplinary accounting research has drawn attention to the potential for technologies such as big data analytics and social media to enact new forms of surveillance and control, thereby transforming work, identity and producing anxiety. This paper explores these concerns in the context of the growing
popularity of the use of game design elements in non-game settings (gamification). By drawing on Baudrillard’s (2007) theorisation of seduction, this paper argues that gamification, as seduction, is a mode of post-disciplinary control. We develop our analysis through an illustrative case of Foursquare, a gamified location-based platform organisation. We show how Foursquare exercises control; seducing its users by creating a communal, gamified milieu of symbolic exchange which is distinct from but connected to the commodity exchanges that underpin its business model. Gamification seduces users to play, travel and ‘arrange’ their bodies in particular temporal and spatial settings in exchange for the virtual rewards, feelings of pleasure, and sense of community gamification affects. In playing, users have fun, become part of an online community, give of their bodily work and associated biodata, and so they drive commodity exchange and the production of economic value for Foursquare and its partners.
Original languageEnglish
JournalManagement Accounting Research
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2 Aug 2021


  • control
  • biopower
  • seduction
  • gamification
  • affect


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