Ethnography and Hermeneutics in Cybercultural Research Accessing IRC Virtual Communities


  • José L. Abdelnour Nocera

    Corresponding author
    1. Ph.D. candidate and Associate Lecturer in the Computing Department at The Open University, Milton Keynes, England. His current research focuses in the cultural and social encoding and decoding of human-computer interfaces. During the last three years, Nocera has been a lecturer and researcher in cybercultural issues at the Catholic University Andrés Bello, and Simón Bolívar University, both in Caracas, Venezuela. This article is a product of research in virtual communities that led him to obtain his M.Sc. in Cultural Psychology at Simon Bolívar University.
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Address: Computing Department, Maths and Computing Faculty, The Open University. Walton Hall, Milton Keynes. MK7 6AA. United Kingdom. Phone: (+44)-19-0865-3096.


This article suggests a qualitative methodological framework and a holistic-historicistic epistemological perspective that balances the sociopsychological and cultural dimensions of IRC Virtual Communities. CMC cultural research should not be focused on intercultural collision phenomena alone, but also on cultural construction from inside the Net. An ethnographic strategy discovering cybercultures together with Gadamer's hermeneutics for the interpretation of systems of meanings are the proposed tools for understanding “virtual” life and cultural production within the Net.