Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Vaccinium corymbosum: Harbin Hot Springs' & virtual worlds' assumptions which I hope this ethnography will clarify

Harbin ethnography:

... The ways in which such explorations that have occurred at actual Harbin will emerge in virtual Harbin beginning in 2009-2010, with the 1960s four decades in the past will be fascinating to observe ethnographically.

People familiar with actual Harbin and with virtual worlds like Second Life, in general, are often predisposed to certain assumptions which I hope this ethnography will clarify. 1) At actual Harbin, some people I've met think that it's a pick up place and that there are sharks - mostly men who pick up mostly women - in the pools; in virtual worlds, that they're hard to navigate in, that there are a lot of avatar griefers who might harass people with adolescent meanness and bullying, that it's just a game for mostly teenagers, and that virtual worlds like Second Life are pretty sexualized, and that the level of discourse in them isn't very high. 2) A second assumption people might have about an actual Harbin/virtual Harbin comparison, in terms of culture, is that culture is relatively insignificant at on-the-ground Harbin so that not much might occur or be observable in any expressions of 'culture' in virtual world Harbins. 3) A third assumption that this book may clarify is that the differences between the 'actual' and virtual worlds are unsustainable (Boellstorff 2008:27). In what ways substantive and referential relationships articulate across the actual and virtual worlds divide, in terms of these Harbins, will be fascinating to study, and will shed much light on the already multiple distinctions between the actual and virtual worlds.

In many ways, one thing both actual Harbin and virtual Harbin in Second Life have in common is their openness. ...

( - July 14, 2010)

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