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Notes on A Second Life

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University of Guelph
ANTH 2160
D Rose

Reading Guidelines for Second Life CHAPTER ONE1To what does the opening paragraph refer Why do you think Boellstorff begins his ethnography in this wayMalinowskis quote from Argonauts of the Western Pacific Published 1922Describes cultural inhabitants of the Trobriand Island North of AustraliaAllows you to picture yourself in another culture leaving home and feeling strandedAvatarsyourself and virtually in shoes of other 2 cultureShows just like in any ethnographic work he is stranded on a new island2How and why does the author use the quotes from Malinowskis Argonauts of the Western Pacific in the way that he doesShows must live in close proximity of those youre studying just like Malinowski first didSpeaks of actual experience beliefand lifeTakes methodstheories of anthropology and applies it to virtual world how he will do his research in second life3What is Second Life Virtual world owned and managed by a company4How does Boellstorff conduct his field work WhyUnderstand culture in virtual worldPrevious studies in Internet CultureDoes field work entirely inside second lifeUsing avatar Tom BukowskiHas home and work in second life names EthnographiaDid standard human protocolsEngaged in normal anthropological methods participant observation and interviews Because Is feasible and crucial to developing research methods to keep up with realities of technological changeMany participants majority only interact in virtual worldForms social action and meaning making take place in virtual world too and need methods and theories to take this into account5Why according to the author does ethnography have something special to contribute to the study of online communities and virtual worldsPromise of illuminating culture online but not because its traditional or oldfashionedSpecial role in studying virtual roles because it has anticipated themBefore internet existed ethnography produced a kind of virtual knowledgeachieved a native point of view6Who is his presumed audienceInterested in Anthropology studentsScholars students designers in fields like game studies informatics and science and technology studies ndndThose participate in 2 life virtual worlds including those met in 2 lifeSome cannot predict have interest in this topic7What are virtual worlds What are the three fundamental elements that must be present in all virtual worldsThey are places of human culture realized by computer programs through the internet1 Places 2 Inhabited by persons 3 Enabled by online technologies 8Pay attention to the definition of virtual real actual world worlding and age of techneVirtual have distinct cultures but are from actualworld cultures Comes from Latin virtus refers to maleness and is etymologically liked to notions of virtue virtuosity and virility Draws from longstanding oppositions of mind versus body objects versus essence and structure versus agency among others Contemporary English it means almost In Oxford Dictionary it is something that is so in essence of effect although not formally or actually It can be understood as potentiality when there is a gap between experience and the actual or to approach the actual without actually arriving there It is a prefix for cyber Real Places of human culture not realized by computer programs through the internet as parts ofthe actual worldActual Oxford dictionary comes from etymological form act as in indicated by the term actor it can refer to something exhibited in deedsWorld Large scale social contexts with visual and interactive components somewhat life environment and space Dangerously naturalistic metaphor Implies an entity that has come into being without human agency and that is selfcontained without boundaries you can walk around a world and end up where you started Why anthropologists of globalization find it productive to use the word Worlding Age of Techne Information AgeChapter 2HistoryVirtual worlds are described in terms of breathless futurism and capitalist hypeThey seem new and this apparent newness is central to their being interpretedThroughout human history technologies have shaped forms of selfhood and communityDistinction between society and technology is misleadingTechnology like language gender religion and any other domain always comes to be through particular cultural and historical circumstancesFirst way to tell the history of virtual worlds is to claim that humans have always been virtual Virtuality has followed human culture from its very beginning Symbols open up imaginary worlds that tend to be virtual worlds by including traits that imitate real social worldsDreams rituals imagination even language itself could all be considered virtualDuring Boelstorffs fieldwork he discovered notions of virtual worlds that he encountered in second lif and elsewhere appeared to draw primarily from Western traditions
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