TAILIEUCHUNG - THE ANTHROPOLOGY OF ONLINE COMMUNITIES BY Samuel M.Wilson and Leighton C. Peterson

Information and communication technologies based on the Internet have enabled the emergence of new sorts of communities and communicative practices—phenomena worthy of the attention of anthropological researchers. Despite early assessments of the revolutionary nature of the Internet and the enormous transformations it would bring about, the changes have been less dramatic and more embedded in existing practices and power relations of everyday life. This review explores researchers’ questions, approaches, and insights within anthropology and some relevant related fields, and it seeks to identify promising new directions for study. The general conclusion is that the technologies comprising the Internet, and all the text and media that exist within it, are. | AR REVIEWS IN Some corrections may occur before final publication online and in print Annu. Rev. Anthropol. 2002. 31 449-67 doi Copyright 2002 by Annual Reviews. All rights reserved First posted online as a Review in Advance on June 14 2002 The Anthropology of Online Communities Samuel M. Wilson and Leighton C. Peterson Department of Anthropology The University of Texas at Austin Austin Texas 78712 email leighton@ Key Words Internet media computer-mediated communication cyberspace information technology Abstract Information and communication technologies based on the Internet have enabled the emergence of new sorts of communities and communicative practices phenomena worthy of the attention of anthropological researchers. Despite early assessments of the revolutionary nature of the Internet and the enormous transformations it would bring about the changes have been less dramatic and more embedded in existing practices and power relations of everyday life. This review explores researchers questions approaches and insights within anthropology and some relevant related fields and it seeks to identify promising new directions for study. The general conclusion is that the technologies comprising the Internet and all the text and media that exist within it are in themselves cultural products. Anthropology is thus well suited to the further investigation of these new and not so new phenomena. introduction In the last fifteen years the growth of the global computer network known as the Internet has facilitated the rapid emergence of online interactions of dispersed groups of people with shared interests. These online groups exhibit a wide range of characteristics and serve a variety of purposes from small groups engaged in tightly focused discussions of specific topics to complex created worlds with hundreds of simultaneous participants to millions

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