Show Less
Restricted access

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.
Urte Undine Frömming, born 1970 in Eutin (Germany), is junior professor at the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology and the head of the Master’s Program in Visual and Media Anthropology at Freie Universität Berlin. She has completed several visual anthropological fieldwork studies in Eastern Indonesia, in East-Africa (Tanzania), in Iceland and in the virtual world of Second Life. She is a member of the work group «Visual Anthropology» at the German Anthropological Association (DGV) and member of the European Forum for the Study of Religion and the Environment.