Digital Neighbourhoods: A sociological perspective on the forming of self-feeling online

Digital Neighbourhoods: A sociological perspective on the forming of self-feeling online

Ulrik Lögdlund (Linköping University, Sweden) and Marcin de Kaminski (Lund University, Sweden)
Copyright: © 2011 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-209-3.ch006
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Abstract

The aim of this study was to discuss how young people in Sweden relate to the Internet trying to picture how they developed and maintained relations online. The study revolves around the notion of self-feeling holding a few basic questions at the stake; how much time do young people spend online and in what different contexts? How does interaction take place in online communities and how is self-feeling constructed? The study takes on a sociological perspective on online interaction and leans on an interpretive approach represented by Charles Cooley. The study is based on eleven qualitative semi-structured interviews with eleven Swedish young people made on the Internet in 2009. The results of the study point out that an excessive amount of time was spent by the interviewees interacting in minor online communities and services. The character of communication was mainly personal and intimate. Analyses make visible three aspects of why spending time online; to prevent loneliness, to create opportunities of inclusiveness and to avoid exclusion. Finally, the study discusses the construction of self-feeling as part of a socialisation process taking place in contemporary digital neighbourhoods.
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Net Cultures And Digital Natives

The Internet and digital media have become increasingly embedded in our daily lives. One central notion within the framework of net based activities is ‘net cultures’ (Dunkels, 2007, 2009). It can be argued that ‘net cultures’ is a notion difficult to define due to its volatility. It can also be said that the inherent complexity of the concept depicts a distinction between net cultures and everyday cultures. Buckingham (1999) argues net cultures concern different fields or domains which are not limited to the area of Internet exclusively. The term net cultures have also been used as a tool (Tapscott, 1998) abandoning the demarcation between the net and the everyday life. Tapscott argues net cultures as a kind of cultural interaction which is displayed on the Internet. The approach of cultural interaction also makes the Internet a wider field of exploration embracing the contexts of learning, development and socialisation (ibid.).

The concepts of the ‘digital natives’ and ‘digital immigrants’ were first introduced by Prensky (2001). Digital natives can be described as the generation that has grown up in the digital society being considered natives since they are fluent speakers of the digital language. In contrast ‘digital immigrants’ is a concept that refers to users who do not have a native understanding of the Internet and the digital world (ibid.). Digital immigrants are therefore forced to grasp knowledge about information and communication technologies to keep up with the developments of the technological field.

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