New locations: the virtual city
AbstractWhile raising questions about the position of the city in anthropological practice, much of the existing discourse has failed to acknowledge that there is a new kind of city out there, the virtual city. However, while the virtual city as a general analytical category may richly fulfil its function as a focal point for cultural meanings, this role may also be problematic, as revealed by my own fieldsite, Cybercity . Against a background that boasts the absence of a shared history of meaning, a new virtual community has been constructed in which human relationships appear to be organised more perfectly than in everyday life. Within this city, being a good citizen is organised around discourses of harmony and unity. This in turn leads to questions about the enforcement of community ideals articulated through the control of both images and texts within the virtual city. By addressing these issues, my aim is not to represent some new model of the city. Rather, it is an attempt to stimulate discussion that will allow a movement towards new models of cities that are central to anthropological practices.
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