Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship

Virtual Community: From Community to Communitas

Virtual Community: From Community to Communitas co-edited by Sorin Adam Matei and Brian Britt is available for free download from Smashwords both as a PDF and as a .mobi (kindle compatible) file. The book is the product of the Online interaction seminar and it includes essays and theoretical papers about the meaning, utility, and application of the virtual community concept.

Download link: http://matei.org/url/virtsmash

Amazon.com product page for print version: http://matei.org/url/virtsoc (includes 2d codes for access to digital content)

Kindle product page: http://matei.org/url/kindvirtsoc

Ebook Short Description
How do virtual communities come together? What makes them strong? What social theories can be used for explaining them? What rules and policies can be used to make virtual communities last? The book is the product of the Online Interaction Seminar, Purdue University. It includes 2d codes, which facilitate connecting the print version of the book to online resources.

Extended Description
To what degree can the human exchanges we observe online be called "sociability"? In other words, do these exchanges amount to any meaningful type of social organization? Are they more than the mere froth of collective emotion discharging its energy with a lot of noise but little consequence against the wave breakers of social media? Do the social interactions that take place in virtual space-all those kind or not-so-kind words sent back and forth-suggest the same level of commitment, dedication, morality, passion, or even depravity that we see in everyday life? Or, more succinctly, is sociability online less "social," less "real" than what we see in everyday life?

The present collection of papers reflects some of the most insightful contributions to the Purdue Online Interaction Seminar. Representing a variety of interpretive frameworks, the conversation is circumscribed by a number of themes, of which two are most important. The first one is the nature of online sociability. Are or could online groups be "community-like," bound by ties as strong as those of kith and kin?

Should they be qualified as a type of contractual, rational, self-interested "society"? Or should we propose a new interpretive framework? Should online communities be seen as a type of "communitas", which is a form of social aggregation that appears during certain initiation rituals? If this is so, are communitas-like virtual spaces characterized by the same transient, liminal state that mixes a variety of contradictory characteristics (temporary and permanent, close and distant, essential and fleeting) that we observe in other types of "communitas"? Can virtual communitas lead to social and personal transformation, just like its traditional counterpart?

Table of Contents

  • Sorin Adam Matei
    The book is dead! Long live the ubibook!
    User Guide
  • Susan Huelsing Sarapin
    Front Porches and Public Spaces: Planned Communities Online
  • Pamela Morris
    Glimpses of Community on the Web
  • Brenda Berkelaar Van Pelt
    Peering Behind the Curtain: The Virtual Wizard Offers No Guarantees
  • Brian C. Britt
    The Invisible Man: Speaking into the Online Void
  • Robert N. Yale
    Welcome to I-berspace: Media Gratifications in Successful Virtual Communities
  • Christina Kalinowski
    Individualism Online: Virtually Escaping the 'Massness' or Vanishing into the 'Electrovoid'?
  • W. Scott Sanders
    SIDE Theory, Small World Networks, and Smart Mob Formation: A Beginner's Guide
  • Online Interaction Seminar: Selected Readings and Discussion Topics

About Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship

The Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship fosters the understanding and application of entrepreneurship with faculty and students across the Purdue campus and with stakeholders throughout the State.


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