ERG SES C 08, Parallel Session C 08
- To what extent does the Internet as a social space influence the notion of community?
- Is there a borderline between online and offline social experiences?
In sociological terms, spatiality refers to more than geographical location, proximity or distance. It is about socio-cultural norms, codes of behaviour and coherent interactions that are both spatially defined and simultaneous in time (Cavanagh, 2007). However, the emergence of the New Media contributed to creation of new spaces for social interaction that have their very own dynamics and attributes. Castells (2000) proposes the idea of space of flows to define an online environment, dominated by constant movement and exchange of information, goods, images or sounds between physically disconnected people. Moreover, the Internet by challenging the notion of space, questions conventionally defined axes of time. David Harvey (1990, p. 284) articulates the concept of ‘time- space compression’, because nowadays distribution of information over large distances is a matter of seconds. The Internet contributed to speeding of social interactions and became a source of information obtainable twenty- four hours a day, seven days a week, throughout the globe. This instant possibility of communication provides the experience of timelessness. In other words, new technology overcame geographical as well as time barriers what creates the impression of speed of social relations.
Within the network society, space and time are governed by the new technological logic. Thus, for Castells (2000, p. 459) the relationship between space of flows and people’s rootedness in local environment might lead to ‘structural schizophrenia’ and place individuals in two parallel worlds/societies informed by different time dimensions. This perspective appears to be too pessimistic and negative. Social- networking websites such as Bebo, Facebook or MySpace are the examples of space of flows and timeless time, where the use of the Internet brings together people (especially younger generations) from all over the world. There is no face- to- face interaction and communication is not always synchronised in time. However, networking- websites can be compared with offline places, parks, shopping centres or pubs where individuals meet to socialise, gossip, exchange information, play games, make plans or support each other (Rheingold, 1993). Nowadays, in the age of network society, people use technology and media to support traditionally unmediated practices. In other words, social situations and experiences are shifted into new technology- mediated contexts. The idea of ‘structural schizophrenia’ defines online domain in terms of the ‘other’ place. I intend to argue that technology and social practices are in the state of continuity and fusion where the Internet domain is not isolated from people’s offline experiences.
Castells, Manuel (2000), The Rise Of The Network Society, 2nd ed, Blackwell Publishers: Oxford. Cavanagh, Allison (2007) Sociology In The Age Of The Internet, Open University Press: Maidenhead. Freire, Paulo (2000 ), Pedagogy Of The Oppressed, Continuum: London. Giddens, Anthony (1991), Modernity and Self-Identity: Self And Society In The Late Modern Age, Polity Press: Cambridge. Harvey, David (1990) The Condition Of Postmodernity: An Inquiry Into The Origins Of Cultural Change, Blackwell: Cambridge. Hine, Christine (2008), Virtual Ethnography, SAGE Publications: London. Rheingold, Howard (1991), Virtual Reality, Secker&Warburg: London. Wellman, Barry (2004) The Three Ages Of Internet Studies: Ten, Five and Zero Years Ago, Media and Society 6(1), 2004: 123-9.
- Search for keywords and phrases in "Text Search"
- Restrict in which part of the abstracts to search in "Where to search"
- Search for authors and in the respective field.
- For planning your conference attendance you may want to use the conference app, which will be issued some weeks before the conference
- If you are a session chair, best look up your chairing duties in the conference system (Conftool) or the app.