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Virtual Environments and Cultures

A Collection of Social Anthropological Research in Virtual Cultures and Landscapes

Edited By Undine Frömming

Virtual reality is no longer an issue that we can avoid or ignore. It is an essential part of our experience, influencing cultures and individuals all over the world. This book presents a collection of ethnographic research in the virtual world of Second Life, and can be seen as an attempt to discover the challenges and limits of social anthropological research with an avatar in virtual cultures and environments. The contributions in this book demonstrate that the development of «digital codes» has meanwhile gone so far that anthropologists have started to conduct fieldwork inside digital user-generated worlds. This volume investigates the challenges facing a reality that is strongly and maybe irrevocably entangled with virtual reality. This development holds disadvantages and dangers but advantages as well - such as freedom of expressions for minority groups, social online activists, religious communities or artists. All research is based on qualitative methods, with group and single interview situations and participant observation over a period of between three and ten months.

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Manizhe Ali (b. 1972, India) is a Visual Artist & Filmmaker. She was born in Lucknow (India), lived in Makkah (Saudi Arabia) and London (UK), and calls the city of chaos Karachi her home. Manizhe Ali has a degree in Fine Arts from Indus Valley School of Art & Architecture in Karachi. After a couple of group shows and a solo show, she channeled her talents in production designing for television, and later the need to tell stories led her to producing. Manizhe has a hit TV series to her credit. Side by side she worked on her short films and video art projects, which have been screening at festivals in Pakistan, Cairo, New York, Seattle and Glasgow among other places. She has been associated with KaraFilm Festival as a member of the organizing committee and was part of the Berlinale Talent Campus in 2010. In the summer of 2010, Manizhe launched her jewelry label and the same time she started her MA in Visual and Media Anthropology at the Freie Universität Berlin. There has been a constant need to tell stories. Each story demands its own medium. The medium may vary but the heart remains constant. Manizhe currently works and lives in Karachi. Emma Corbett-Ashby (b. 1980, London, UK) is a Finnish-English writer, film- maker and community activist currently living in Berlin, Germany since 2009. She studied Fine Art and Film Production at the post-graduate level in the UK, and received her MA in Visual and Media Anthropology at the...

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