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New bibliography of online worlds and social networking

September 17, 2009

I’ve just put together a list of readings for my new module at Sheffield Hallam University, Online Worlds and Social Networking.

In Part One we explore and analyse a number of online worlds (game worlds, Second Life, sex chat rooms, consumer tribes, etc.) whilst in Part Two we focus on social networking sites in both their Internet and mobile phone dimensions. As the module proceeds students are strongly encouraged to make connections (as well as disconnections) between the two bodies of scholarship. Broadly speaking, the first half of the module, Online Worlds, deals with those computer-mediated domains in which collective forms of interaction and sociality are sought and fostered; e.g. the 3D virtual world Second Life. In contrast, the Social Networking part deals with a more recent social phenomenon: the ongoing boom in Internet sites and mobile technologies centred around individuals and their own personal networks. Some influential authors have linked this trend to the global rise of ‘networked individualism’ (see Castells 2001, Wellman et al 2003), i.e. the reconfiguration of social relations away from the collective forms that predominated in the past (families, villages, associations, firms) and towards ‘me-centred’ formations.

Please let me know if there are other references I should add, as this is only work in progress. Thanks!

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. Erica permalink
    September 18, 2009 11:57 pm

    I just wanted to say thanks for posting this! As a graduate student looking at the anthropology of new media, I found it (and this blog in general) very helpful – there are quite a few sources on here I hadn’t come across yet.
    As for additional references, a few others I’ve come across are Lori Kendall’s “Hanging Out in the Virtual Pub” (an ethnography of a MUD with an emphasis on gender relations and the relationship of online community to offline life), Brenda Danet’s “Cyberpl@y” (looks at playfulness and art in the context of IRC chat), and Lisa Nakamura’s “Digitizing Race” (which looks at how people use images of the body in online interaction).
    I hope these are helpful. Thanks again!

  2. September 19, 2009 10:38 am

    Thanks a lot, Erica, these refs are indeed very helpful! John

  3. Delia permalink
    September 19, 2009 4:31 pm

    My colleague and I did a 6 months authoethnographic study of gender in SL – the paper is entitled “Knee-High Boots and Six-Pack Abs: Autoethnographic Reflections on Gender and Technology in Second Life” and has appeared in the Journal of Virtual Worlds Research,

  4. September 19, 2009 4:44 pm

    Thanks Delia, look forward to reading it and will add it to the revised list!

  5. September 19, 2009 5:28 pm

    AND I forgot to add the Journal of Virtual Worlds Research to my list, too!

  6. January 5, 2010 10:16 am

    and see

    Living on Cybermind: Categories, Communication, and Control (New Literacies and Digital Epistemologies) (Paperback) by Jonathan Paul Marshall (Author)

  7. January 7, 2010 9:08 am

    Hi John
    This is a really impressive bibliography! I am a bit curious: do you have any reason for not mentioning Norris’ book in the Digital Divide and Van Dijk’s work?

    • January 7, 2010 9:42 am

      Thanks Flo. No particular reason, they must have slipped through the net (no pun intended). If you send me those refs I’ll certainly add them to the list.


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