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Electronic Tribes: The Virtual Worlds of Geeks, Gamers, Shamans, and Scammers

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Whether people want to play games and download music, engage in social networking and professional collaboration, or view pornography and incite terror, the Internet provides myriad opportunities for people who share common interests to find each other. The contributors to this book argue that these self-selected online groups are best understood as tribes, with many of the same ramifications, both positive and negative, that tribalism has in the non-cyber world.

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Electronic Tribes: The Virtual Worlds of Geeks, Gamers, Shamans, and Scammers

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Overview

Whether people want to play games and download music, engage in social networking and professional collaboration, or view pornography and incite terror, the Internet provides myriad opportunities for people who share common interests to find each other. The contributors to this book argue that these self-selected online groups are best understood as tribes, with many of the same ramifications, both positive and negative, that tribalism has in the non-cyber world.

In Electronic Tribes, the authors of sixteen competitively selected essays provide an up-to-the-minute look at the social uses and occasional abuses of online communication in the new media era. They explore many current Internet subcultures, including MySpace.com, craftster.org, massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) such as World of Warcraft, music downloading, white supremacist and other counterculture groups, and Nigerian e-mail scams. Their research raises compelling questions and some remarkable answers about the real-life social consequences of participating in electronic tribes. Collectively, the contributors to this book capture a profound shift in the way people connect, as communities formed by geographical proximity are giving way to communities—both online and offline—formed around ideas.

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What People Are Saying

H. L. Goodall Jr.
The major contribution of this book is that the idea of 'tribe' is fully and robustly explicated in ways that challenge existing wisdom, particularly the idea that Internet users are best understood as communities. . . . The richness of diverse research resources is evident in every chapter. I particularly commend the editors on the international perspective and the inclusion of such a surprising array of subcultures.
H. L. Goodall Jr., Director, Hugh Downs School of Human Communication, Arizona State University
H. L. Goodall Jr.
The major contribution of this book is that the idea of 'tribe' is fully and robustly explicated in ways that challenge existing wisdom, particularly the idea that Internet users are best understood as communities. . . . The richness of diverse research resources is evident in every chapter. I particularly commend the editors on the international perspective and the inclusion of such a surprising array of subcultures.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780292717749
  • Publisher: University of Texas Press
  • Publication date: 7/28/2008
  • Pages: 331
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

TYRONE L. ADAMS is the Richard D'Aquin Professor of Journalism and Communications at the University of Louisiana, Lafayette.

STEPHEN A. SMITH is Professor of Communication at the University of Arkansas.

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Table of Contents

Foreword, Ronald E. Rice
Acknowledgments
Introduction: Where Is the Shaman? Jim Parker

Part I: Conceptualizing Electronic Tribes

Chapter 1. "A Tribe by Any Other Name...," Tyrone L. Adams and Stephen A. Smith
Chapter 2. Mimetic Kinship: Theorizing Online "Tribalism," Veronica M. Davidov and Barbara Andersen
Chapter 3. Electronic Tribes (E-Tribes): Some Theoretical Perspectives and Implications, Bolanle Olaniran
Chapter 4. Revisiting the Impact of Tribalism on Civil Society: An Investigation of the Potential Benefits of Membership in an E-Tribe on Public Discourse, Christina Standerfer

Part II: Social Consequences of Electronic Tribalism

Chapter 5. Theorizing the E-Tribe on MySpace.com, David R. Dewberry
Chapter 6. Don't Date, Craftsterbate: Dialogue and Resistance on craftster.org, Terri L. Russ
Chapter 7. Guild Life in the World of Warcraft: Online Gaming Tribalism, Thomas Brignall III
Chapter 8. At the Electronic Evergreen: A Computer-Mediated Ethnography of Tribalism in a Newsgroup from Montserrat and Afar, Jonathan Skinner

Part III: Emerging Electronic Tribal Cultures

Chapter 9. "Like a neighborhood of sisters": Can Culture Be Formed Electronically? Deborah Clark Vance
Chapter 10. Gerald M. Phillips as Electronic Tribal Chief: Socioforming Cyberspace, Ann Rosenthal
Chapter 11. Digital Dreamtime, Sonic Talismans: Music Downloading and the Tribal Landscape, Michael C. Zalot
Chapter 12. Magic, Myth, and Mayhem: Tribalization in the Digital Age, Leonie Naughton

Part IV: Cybercrime and Counterculture among Electronic Tribes

Chapter 13. Mundanes at the Gate... and Perverts Within: Managing Internal and External Threats to Community Online, Steve Abrams and Smaragd Grün
Chapter 14. Brotherhood of Blood: Aryan Tribalism and Skinhead Cybercrews, Jody M. Roy
Chapter 15. Radical Tribes at Warre: Primitivists on the Net, Mathieu O'Neil
Chapter 16. A "Tribe" Migrates Crime to Cyberspace: Nigerian Igbos in 419 E-Mail Scams, Farooq A. Kperogi and Sandra Duhé

About the Contributors
Index

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