Sep 30, 2020
Coming of Age in Second Life: An Anthropologist Explores the Virtually Human
Posted by Tom Boellstorff

Millions of people around the world today spend portions of their lives in online virtual worlds Second Life is one of the largest of these virtual worlds The residents of Second Life create communities, buy property and build homes, go to concerts, meet in bars, attend weddings and religious services, buy and sell virtual goods and services, find friendship, fall in lovMillions of people around the world today spend portions of their lives in online virtual worlds Second Life is one of the largest of these virtual worlds The residents of Second Life create communities, buy property and build homes, go to concerts, meet in bars, attend weddings and religious services, buy and sell virtual goods and services, find friendship, fall in love the possibilities are endless, and all encountered through a computer screen Coming of Age in Second Life is the first book of anthropology to examine this thriving alternate universe Tom Boellstorff conducted than two years of fieldwork in Second Life, living among and observing its residents in exactly the same way anthropologists traditionally have done to learn about cultures and social groups in the so called real world He conducted his research as the avatar Tom Bukowski, and applied the rigorous methods of anthropology to study many facets of this new frontier of human life, including issues of gender, race, sex, money, conflict and antisocial behavior, the construction of place and time, and the interplay of self and group Coming of Age in Second Life shows how virtual worlds can change ideas about identity and society Bringing anthropology into territory never before studied, this book demonstrates that in some ways humans have always been virtual, and that virtual worlds in all their rich complexity build upon a human capacity for culture that is as old as humanity itself.

  • Title: Coming of Age in Second Life: An Anthropologist Explores the Virtually Human
  • Author: Tom Boellstorff
  • ISBN: 9780691135281
  • Page: 308
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Coming of Age in Second Life An Anthropologist Explores the Virtually Human Millions of people around the world today spend portions of their lives in online virtual worlds Second Life is one of the largest of these virtual worlds The residents of Second Life create communiti

    Zhoel13

    In his book Coming of Age in Second Life, Tom Boellstorff makes a statement that he wants to treat Second Life as a virtual world in its own terms His rationale for this is that there do exist distinct cultures in virtual worlds, even though they draw from actual world cultures 18 I find his approach towards virtual worlds not only provocative but also strategic While it presents a fresh perspective in observing new media culture, it also aptly serves his purpose to map Second Life culture as a [...]


    Miles

    Before I read Boellstorff, I registered for Second Life and spent a few hours in the last week just to see what it was about I remain absolutely clueless I m trying to imagine what real life circumstances would attract me to spending any significant amount of time in this world, and I suppose I can think of a few If I were confined to a bed, socially isolated, or stuck in a truly miserable job with plenty of free time at my desk, or if I wanted to have a virtual affair, I suppose Second Life wou [...]


    Shonell Bacon

    It s rare that someone takes what is deemed an academic book to bed as her nightly reading, but Boellstorff has a voice and writing style that is fit for a number of readers from the academic to the lay person wanting to know about virtual worlds It s the kind of voice and style that I m interested in and that I hope to have in my own academic works Anyone who is a fan of virtual worlds and Second Life specifically will enjoy the in depth descriptions that are available in this work, from the h [...]


    Mikhaela

    Tom Boellstorff s Coming of Age in Second Life intrigued me the very moment I picked up the text Boellstoff s uses a clear and informative tone to describe and explore the virtual human The text is easily digestible for anyone interested in learning about virtual life Through his knowledge and charismatic voice, he takes the reader with him on his journey from the beginning in a true Coming of Age fashion While he claims multiple times to be unbiased and an anthropologist observing the culture, [...]


    Beth O"Connell

    Excellent look at the overall culture of Second Life I d like to find something similar where the fieldwork was done after 2009, when SL s numbers started to drop.


    Rachel Goldman

    Tom Boellstorff takes a fascinating approach to researching culture in one of the largest virtual communities called Second Life His primary goal in researching this virtual world is to gain insight into the culture that exists there and further understand the norms that are shared by those who participate In studying Second Life, Boellstorff took a research approach used by anthropologists studying culture called ethnography He conducted research by interviewing participants and forming focus g [...]


    Dragos

    Boellstorff does not tread untrod ground in what is probably his best and most famous book but he does it better and with greater style than your garden variety academic Borrowing title and theory from classical anthropology the author gives us a complex ethnography in the digital medium in perhaps one of the digital worlds , to paraphrase the book, most suited for classical anthropological pursuits Not messing about with unsightly MUDs, websites and forums or with the quintessentially gamified [...]


    Shannon

    This is a really fascinating book because the topic is not something that you would expect to read an anthropological analysis of I had to read it for my anthropology class Material Culture The author did all of his fieldwork inside of Second Life, a virtual reality MMO where players can create virtual versions of themselves I was really impressed by his discussion of the history of virtual worlds, which started long before computers He expertly discusses different issues in virtual worlds, such [...]


    Laurel

    I continue to broaden my reading in internet studies This is an ethnography by a Professor of Anthropology who spent two years in second life during its early years He uses traditional ethnographic tools as he explores this thriving alternative universe which is as meaningful to its natives as the real world.I know from my own experiences with early online community Lambda Moo that Boellstorff does not deeply delve into the social life of participants He notes many times in his prose that an ent [...]


    Dagezi

    This is a bizarre book, not for its subject matter but for the degree to which Boellstorff seems intent on reproducing Margaret Mead s approach to Samoa treating Second Life as a bounded cultural isolate, worthy of understanding in its own terms Given that the man s partner, Bill Maurer has presided over the death of language, this sort of almost positivist unreconstructed Boasianism is not a little surprising maybe they have a Jack Spratt and spouse thing going on when it comes to high flown po [...]


    lilly

    Argues that virtual worlds are not just representations or simulations of the real world, but have cultures in and of themselves Moreover, these cultures have stratifications, patterns, and meanings that have been documented in by anthropologists since time immemorial complete with citations of books written in the late 1800s All this is true, and the book is packed dense with references but it feels like riffing than an argument It makes gestures at topics like gender, class, etc, but gives it [...]


    margot lane

    Though Boellstorff adamantly tries to keep anthropology as a serious thread throughout this book, he does a terrible job of keeping to current and actual methodological anthropology research Though an interesting argument and topic, he seems to forget his anthropological perspective in turn producing what is essentially an interesting albeit thoroughly engrossed advertisement for Second Life and virtual worlds Just okay No true ethnography here though


    Timothy

    I can t speak to this book s significance within the field of anthropology or its methodological soundness, but it serves as a well informed and well written introduction to Second Life for a non participant such as myself The references back to classics of ethnographic research are charming, and the bibliography is truly excellent This book also does nothing to dispel my impression that Second Life manages to be simultaneously boring and creepy.


    Travis Wagner

    This work tows the line between theory and the actuality of Second Life in a way that fixates not on the absurdity or the spectacular, nor even the dystopic implications for society, but instead the very human components that exist at its center This is necessary reading for anybody looking to learn about Second Life, but is equally key as a work of anthropology I cannot praise it enough.


    Trinity

    Interesting study of the author s experiences in Second Life He did spend quite a bit of time in world to do the research for this book, and so this digs under the surface appearances of the typical virtual world denizen He describes some interesting new themes which are specific to virtual worlds.


    Darya Conmigo

    I enjoyed reading this ethnography a lot It is written in a rather accessible way while still offering a fair amount of theorizing on the subject of virtual worlds and anthropology s role in studying them.


    Giuseppe

    Meriterebbe di essere tradotto in italiano Tom attraverso Second LIfe costruisce un quadro interpretativo fantastico per capire come ci comportiamo in rete, anche e soprattutto fuori da Second Life.


    Mills College Library

    305.8 B6718 2008


    Mina Lavender

    Beautiful, but sadly out of date.


    KT

    I m half way through this book and it is fascinating I love Tom s Indonesia work he is one of my favorite anthropologists out there right now.


    Wildstar

    so many times I have thought hey that s me



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      Posted by:Tom Boellstorff
      Published :2020-06-05T00:19:12+00:00