From Culture to Connection: Internet Community Studies

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Abstract

Research into Internet communities and online behaviour constituted one of the earliest and most dynamic fields of interest in the new field of Internet studies. Studies focused a range of issues including understanding how social order was possible in mediated environments, the social and political dimensions of community, the impacts that online communities could have on their offline counterparts. At the same time, studies of Internet community provided Internet studies more generally with methodological innovations and new means of examining the new electronic worlds that had opened up. However, Internet community studies have been a victim of its own success to the extent that it has recently become fractured into a number of specialist arenas. As a consequence, the field has become both narrower and dominated by intractable problematics. However, recent research offers a new and revitalised agenda, focusing around the altering political status of community and new, and pressing questions have been opened up for the study of online community.

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