Internettet og Second Life – En socialvidenskabelig analyse af en virtuel verdens herkomst og sociale praksisformer

Mikkel Hvidtfeldt Andersen

Studenteropgave: Speciale

Abstrakt

This thesis evolves around the question of how it became a common scope to view the Internet as having democratic potential and how such discourses work on the genesis of 3‐dimensional virtual worlds. By drawing lines between earlier media forms, the Internet and Second Life, as a case of virtual worlds, it is analyzed and discussed how techniques and understandings affects the way media is produced and consumed as a way of exploring the characteristics of digital spaces as spaces of governance. Dystopian and utopian predictions have been made whether the Internet was going to empower or disempower its users resulting in a new digital public sphere or a suppressive instrument of the marked. These prognostics all fail short in the sense that they are biased with assumption that the Internet ought to be a medium for political commitment. Rather it is argued to be more fertile to diagnose the Internet’s actual genesis, its contemporary form and use to examine the interplay between technology and society. Technology is understood and examined as an ongoing open social construction rather than as a static structure paralyzing, determining and thus impacting upon the social as an external force. With a multi‐perspective analytical framework this analysis attempts to draw on the different theoretical approaches of Foucault’s genealogy and Bourdieu’s field analytics as method of critical deconstruction. These approaches function in co‐existence and thus don’t replace one another. Instead they mutually enhance each other at synchronic and diachronic levels of study. As a case of virtual worlds a sim in Second Life called Wonderful Denmark is studied. The thesis concludes that we have witnessed a transformation in techniques and discourses in the media sphere which lays ground for our perception of the Internet and its virtual worlds. Initially Richard Wagner’s audience techniques affected the academic institutionalization of communication leading to conceiving media agents as either passive consumers or active producers. Traditional mass media adopts this technique and visions of communication across societal boundaries through these channels, becomes base for democratic forecasts and practice which in time affects the Internet. In the making of the Internet the audience dichotomy is rearticulated as different agents, such as the scientific environment, hackers and entrepreneurs battle to define this new medium as a democratic or an economic tool, hence forming a hybrid. As a part of user‐created online environments Wonderful Denmark frames and determines the virtual agent’s choices and actions, because it’s embedded into historical 5 constructions of relations between media and user. These constructions were envisioned by man and therefore transformable by an array of archetype of users whom envision and practice techniques in different manners, some which are not inherently (de‐/)democratic, thereby contributing to the shaping of the technology in another direction.

UddannelserSocialvidenskab, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Kandidat
SprogDansk
Udgivelsesdato2 jan. 2008
VejledereSune Johanson

Emneord

  • Bourdieu
  • Second Life
  • Internet
  • Foucault