Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Durian: The concept and experience of community at Harbin is virtual in at least two ways here

Harbin ethnography:

... As an anthropologist, I add this personal history to situate, and make transparent, my personal interests while engaging in the social science practice of writing ethnography, now with the addition of the building of virtual Harbin, in a virtual world, for ethnographic study.

The concept and experience of community at Harbin is virtual in two ways here. By community here, I mean 'a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals; [in sing. ] a similarity or identity; joint ownership or liability' (Apple dictionary). So, in addition to building virtual Harbin in Second Life as ethnographic field site for participant observation study of the Harbin community which emerges there, possibly around Harbin 'New Age' practices such as Watsu, community as a concept has a virtual aspect, as well. Virtual, as something “not physically existing, but created by software to appear to do so” (Apple Dictionary), for me, is like community at Harbin where the software, as metaphor, is the countercultural influences of the 1960s, that create very fascinating appearances at Harbin – its clothing-optionalness, colorful, creative hippie clothing from ALL over the world - but also unique kinds of serendipity and synchronicity. Anthropological interest in community at Harbin for me also relates to expressions of communitas (Victor Turner) – betwixt and between togetherness – which the pools and the pool area, in particular, within the milieu of Harbin as a whole – seem to create, in their own kind of easy-going, hippie style. As an ethnographer, I'm personally exploring questions of hippie communitas as a kind of virtuality, at Harbin.

As a Harbin telephone operator (with writing a Harbin ethnography in mind without field notes) I was a candidate to become a Harbin resident, and then after 3 months, became a resident, I think, but to become a full resident at Harbin one had to stay for more than a year in 2005. ...

( - September 1, 2010)

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