Online Virtual Communities as a New Form of Social Relations: Elements for the Analysis

Online Virtual Communities as a New Form of Social Relations: Elements for the Analysis

Almudena Moreno Mínguez (Universidad de Valladolid, Spain) and Carolina Suárez Hernán (IE Universidad, Spain)
Copyright: © 2010 |Pages: 13
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-984-7.ch145
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Abstract

The generalization of the new information technologies has favored the transformation of social structures and the way of relating to others. In this changing process, the logic of the social relationships is characterized by the fragility and the temporality of the communicative systems reciprocity which are established “online” in a new cybernetic culture. “Virtual communities” are created in which the interaction systems established by individuals exceed the traditional categories of time and space. In this manner the individuals create online social webs where they connect and disconnect themselves based on their needs or wishes. The new online communication technologies favor the rigid norms of the “solid society” that dilute in flexible referential contexts and reversible in the context of the “global and liquid society” to which the sociologists Bauman or Beck have referred to. Therefore the objective that the authors propose in this chapter is to try new theoretic tools, from the paradigms of the new sociology of technology, which let them analyze the new relational and cultural processes which are being generated in the cultural context of the information global society, as a consequence of the new communication technologies scope. Definitely the authors propose to analyze the meaning of concepts such as “virtual community”, “cyber culture”, or “contacted individualism”, as well as the meaning and extent of some of the new social and individual behaviors which are maintained in the Net society.

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