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JeanneAnne

Is this book worth reading?

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That helps immensly Scylla. Thanks very much!

Can't wait to read it. I'm new & if nothing else the history of SL should be interesting. Moreso, his notion that it's all 'virtual,' if I read the reviews correctly. The brain simulates reality, within constraints imposed by the stricture of passing on genes. The Spiritual realm is virtual, SL is virtual... but so is Midgard, the meat world, yet within darwinian parameters. These ideas are what I hope to explore: inworld, in these fora, in Boellstorff's book... 

I think that I'm beginning to see the gamut of intellect expressed here, with the likes of you & Ishtara & Deltango out towards the rightuv the distrubution. I'm still curious about seeing if the equivalent degree of heart & spirit can come out in here tho. I hope so!

Imagine!

Your friend,

Jeanne

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culture is a finicky thing, there are layers and layers. for instance, we'll take the US.... if you live there you are very familiar with the norms expectations and behaviors of the people around you... but lets say you move from one part of the country to another (or in some places, it'd only take a few blocks)... you be a bit out of place, because people there do things a bit differently, and have different expectations, right?

and in that move you might not think that america has no cohesive culture of it's own.... right up until you travel to another country, that's vastly different.... and then you start to see a glimmer of the things that were the same pretty much wherever you went in the US, that you hadn't noticed before because you took them for granted. even though the local cultures within the country may seem to vary greatly, there are still trends that are generally agreed upon, so much so that they seem universal and not worth noting.... after all everybody knows [insert expected behavior here]. and it's true... right up until you go somewhere where it isn't..... and THAT is where the larger cultures definition comes in.

do I believe SL in general has that larger level? absolutely, although I no longer think it's as stable as it once was (as Del so eloquently pointed out) but I have no doubts that it will stabilize and evolve again in the future. right now the big clash that I see is a bit of a tangle between artist culture, gamer culture, social networking culture, and a large injection of commercial culture (and all their sub cultures).... each have their own rules and expectations, and it's interesting to see what kind of social agreements are wrought from where they clash, and what effect that has on long standing notions they may have agreed upon to begin with.....

I don't pretend to know where it might end up, or even that I have the training to see all of it, but it makes for an interesting backdrop when I have a moment to pull away from the more immediate concerns of the person standing next to me

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Deltango Vale wrote:

That the book ends in June 2007 is significant. The author missed the huge culture war resulting from Linden Lab's strategic, philosophical, and policy reversals of 2007-2010. Second Life 2003-2007 was a very different world from Second Life 2007-2011. Most interesting to me, therefore, is that the research was conducted precisely when Second Life was in its prime, when it was a model of free-flowing human interaction, unsullied by Linden Lab managers and RL reformers. For that reason alone, the book is probably worth reading.

Deltango points out one of the most prevalent flaws in any study of this kind. At some point the anthropologist, or sociologist decides thier work is concluded, then publishes thier findings all the while neglecting the basic principle that human cultures are dynamic, and constantly evolving, and the conclusions they draw will become outdated over time as the culture they examine grows past thier observations. If one reads a sociological study of America written between 1950, and 1959 one does not gain an accurate portrait of American society in 2011. Of course we also have to accept that no culture exists in a vacume, there will always be outside influences effecting change. In this case, the LL Administration.

In a nutshell, it's wrong for any study of mankind to be considered at any point concluded or complete.

The kind of social and more accurately named "Cross Cultural" developements seen in SL are very new when viewed on the greater scale of human developement. Perhaps a decade old at best. On line interactions like SL, The Sims Online, World of Warcraft, and several others can best be viewd as "Emergent Cultures", A society, Or Societies in thier infancy which may, or may not grow into distinctive seperate cultures, growing in independence from the RL cultural frameworks of it's new citizens.

Again this is where the various anthropological and socio-political studies being conducted in SL (And other venues) would best be served by NOT attempting to draw any "difinitive" conclusions, Rather they should record contemporary conditions and developements over a certain period of time, Then do no more than speculate on the possible futures based upon the current observations, and past trends.

 

Angel.

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*

Margaret

*

Mead has been almost totally

*

discredited, and her

*

work is now a

*

joke, except amongst

*

desperate

*

feminists, who are clinging to the

*

wreckage of the

*

bandwagon (to mangle a *

analogy) out of

*

embarrassment.

***

The

*

Samoans (whose over-developed sense of humor has now been widely recognised and acknowleged) were

*

having a hug

*

joke at the

*

stupid

*

white woman's expense.

***

Rudi

***

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Fateful-Hoaxing-Margaret-Mead-Historical/dp/0813336937

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"There may be some doubts about Mead, but there are more about the author of the book you cite: Derek Freeman"?

***

Only

*

ex post facto ad hominems gushed from the

*

terminally

*

embarrassed

*

feminist pseudo-scientists who had rushed to

*

embrace the naive (23 year old) girl's

*

admixture of

*

gossip, lies and

*

practical jokes

*

which she had

*

presumptuously presented as "research".

***

Freeman totally discredited Mead's

*

fairy stories, and suffered the nascent equal opportunity establishment's

*

opprobium as a

*

consequence.

***

The

*

book could be

*

accused of similar slipshod narrative-based argument, because "everybody tells the

*

truth in SL", don't they, and anyway, the book is as

*

relevant as a discourse on the use of

*

bows and arrows in modern

*

warfare.

***

Rudi

***

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RudolphUkka wrote:

"There may be some doubts about Mead, but there are more about the author of the book you cite: Derek Freeman"?

***

Only

*

ex post facto ad hominems gushed from the

*

terminally

*

embarrassed

*

feminist pseudo-scientists who had rushed to

*

embrace the naive (23 year old) girl's

*

admixture of

*

gossip, lies and

*

practical jokes

*

which she had

*

presumptuously presented as "research".

***

Freeman totally discredited Mead's

*

fairy stories, and suffered the nascent equal opportunity establishment's

*

opprobium as a

*

consequence.

***

The

*

book could be

*

accused of similar slipshod narrative-based argument, because "everybody tells the

*

truth in SL", don't they, and anyway, the book is as

*

relevant as a discourse on the use of

*

bows and arrows in modern

*

warfare.

***

Rudi

***

 

From "The Asterisk Boy's Guide to Anthropology"

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Dillon Levenque wrote:


RudolphUkka wrote:

"There may be some doubts about Mead, but there are more about the author of the book you cite: Derek Freeman"?

***

Only

*

ex post facto ad hominems gushed from the

*

terminally

*

embarrassed

*

feminist pseudo-scientists who had rushed to

*

embrace the naive (23 year old) girl's

*

admixture of

*

gossip, lies and

*

practical jokes

*

which she had

*

presumptuously presented as "research".

***

Freeman totally discredited Mead's

*

fairy stories, and suffered the nascent equal opportunity establishment's

*

opprobium as a

*

consequence.

***

The

*

book could be

*

accused of similar slipshod narrative-based argument, because "everybody tells the

*

truth in SL", don't they, and anyway, the book is as

*

relevant as a discourse on the use of

*

bows and arrows in modern

*

warfare.

***

Rudi

***

From "The Asterisk Boy's Guide to Anthropology"

Asterisk Boy reads a lot better than Mead's work -- something you can sink your teeth into.

(Give or take an asterisk or two.)

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JeanneAnne wrote:

Has anyone read:

Coming of Age in Second Life: An Anthropologist Explores the Virtual Human (2008) by Tom Boellstorff?

Is it worth reading?

Thanks!

Jeanne

Okay! I have read Boellstorff's book. Sorry it took so long but I had to order it by snail mail, finish the book I was already reading before starting it, and, frankly, SL takes up a lot of the time I used to spend reading.

I liked "Coming of Age in Second Life" and recommend it to others. Much of the stage setting material, in which he attempts to justify ethnographic methods for studying virtual worlds, is dry and directed towards academics. Skip this part if you want. But when he gets down to discussing his experiences in SL, the book is fascinating. Some of the specific content is dated (for instance, when he says that LL is phasing out these fora - they obviously didn't or we wouldn't be here) but the generalities of building, sociality, political economics, etc., haven't changed substantially as far as I can tell.

I particularly found fascinating his discussion of temporality in virtual words; about how how unlike space, time resists virtualization. His discussions of lag, time zone differences, "afk" (I tend to type it "aftc"), etc., really go to the heart of the SL experience, imo. I also enjoyed his take on "griefers" or "goons" and the history he gave of self-replicating objects taking down the entire grid. To add balance, he also recognizes the kindness many residents extend to one another. So far, I have certainly experienced far more kindness in SL, than grief. The only real grief I have experienced (the robot that removed my clothes & hair) was more of a joke than anything serious.

The final section of the book discusses LL's business model which Boellstorff terms "Creationist Capitalism." To me, this is the most serious and interesting part of the book. Depending on how you feel about capitalism in general, and LL in particular, this business model can be admired as pure genius or disparaged as pure evil. Basically, what LL has accomplished is to induce people to pay them for doing their work for them. Whereas other corporations who sponser online virtual worlds pay programmers for creating content, LL has played upon peoples' healthy desire to express creativity, in order to inspire or coerce (depending on how you look at it) them to pay for the priviledge or obligation of creating the content that draws others to SL. From a Marxist perspective this amounts to superexploitation of labor by the ruling class. Yet LL has managed to get intelligent creative people to willingly submit to such exploitation! This arrangement simply has to be admired as a coup of evil genius, regardless of how much one may detest its consequences. LL's business model counts on both the best and worst of human nature being expressed, in order to be successful. It counts on people's natural desire or need to create, but it also assumes that newbies will be inspired by greed, envy and jealously to seek to emulate the creative class and aspire to join their ranks. All of this devised by Corporatist entrepreneurs in order to enrich themselves and their investors.

While Boellstorff seeks to project professional objectivity it's pretty obvious that he admires LL's success at foisting this "Creationsit Capitalism" business model onto the public, more than he condemns its inherent exploitativeness. I suppose that this is to be expected from someone well socialized to the dominant culture paradigm in a Fascist Corporatocracy. In general, I would say that Boellstorff takes SL, and virtual worlds in general, far too seriously. They are, first and foremost, an entertainment venue, and those who loose track of this and become caught up in them to the neglect of RL do so at their own peril. All the drama discussed in the book, and in these fora, needs to be stepped back from and examined more objectively. It seems to me that Boellstorff "went native" in SL, the culture he was tasked to examine ethnographically, and came away from his research with a far too romantic regard for a virtual culture that only exists in order to serve the bottom line of exploitative Corporatists. While Boellstorff acknowledges this he fails to condemn it with anything near the vehemence it deserves.

This is my book report! Submitted by, 

Jeanne Anne Decosta :womantongue:

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