Reassessing the theorisation of community experience within the digitally mediated, global context

Maddox, Alexia and Warren, Brad 2011, Reassessing the theorisation of community experience within the digitally mediated, global context, in TASA 2011 : Local lives/global networks : Proceedings of The Australian Sociological Association 2011 conference, TASA, Hawthorn, Vic., pp. 2-20.

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Title Reassessing the theorisation of community experience within the digitally mediated, global context
Author(s) Maddox, Alexia
Warren, Brad
Conference name Australian Sociological Association. Conference (2011 : Newcastle, N.S.W.)
Conference location Newcastle, N.S.W.
Conference dates 28 Nov.-1 Dec. 2011
Title of proceedings TASA 2011 : Local lives/global networks : Proceedings of The Australian Sociological Association 2011 conference
Editor(s) Threadgold, Steven
Kirby, Emma
Germov, John
Publication date 2011
Conference series TASA Conference
Start page 2
End page 20
Total pages 19
Publisher TASA
Place of publication Hawthorn, Vic.
Keyword(s) virtual community
digital dualism
internet
networked individualism
social ecology
Chicago school
Summary This paper argues that the changing environment in which community experience occurs requires re-theorisation within the digitally mediated, global context. A range of work has certainly emerged addressing this, but there is more to be done, including tracing a theoretical lineage of community studies.

Beginning with the early Chicago School, community was described as geographically bounded. Decades later, community experience meditated by digital technology has been commonly understood to be about virtual community. Ironically, many virtual community scholars have perpetuated the Chicago School perspective in examinations of online groupings, the only difference being that such ‘boundedness’ now referred to relatively fixed locations in cyberspace.

As an emerging alternative, a parallel range of literature has focused upon the immersion of ICT-mediated social relations into everyday life. It is argued that Wellman’s networked individualism provides a way to integrate the online/offline mediated social experience, however it is not a sufficiently complete metaphor to describe spatially distributed, mediated community experiences. From the work of Robert Park, a member of the early Chicago School, the idea of the social ‘ecology’ of place can be adapted to provide a connecting thread into digitally mediated ecologies of community experience. 

In this paper it will be demonstrated that understandings of contemporary community are enhanced, not through abandoning each theory of (virtual) community in favour of the next, but through the consideration of related bodies of work in light of one another, and through the incorporation of enduring aspects of preceding theories into current formulations to enhance understanding.
ISBN 9780646567792
Language eng
Field of Research 160801 Applied Sociology, Program Evaluation and Social Impact Assessment
160805 Social Change
160806 Social Theory
Socio Economic Objective 970116 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society
HERDC Research category E1.1 Full written paper - refereed
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30057019

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