Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Question # 4

I was part of the group that answered question #4-- the question concerning the definition of "imagined" and how different communities or networks can be imagined.
"Imagined" is hard to define-- like my group outlined on Tuesday, we first began thinking of readings we had done where imagined communities (etc.) were the topic. This seemed to fully cover Anderson and Boyd, but it also seemed to extend to Galloway. We tried to refocus on screenings, labs, and novels that seemed to address imagined communities, such as Snow Crash, Second Life, and Cyworld. Soon enough, we realized that World of Warcraft, Civilization, The Sims, even Google Earth seemed to apply to our conversation.
I was very interested in why "imagined" is so hard to define-- what had seemed rather straightforward in the beginning of the semester had now become very complex (for example, Anderson had been fairly clear of what a straightforward imagined community was-- the nation, but with the advent of the internet, imagined communities seem much more pervasive). It is interesting to think of how different it would be to define "imagined" before the creation of the internet-- like Wellman discussed, after the internet community was no longer based on location, but on interest (since sites on the internet focus on interest, not location).
Is the complication of "imagined" based in the changing times and circumstances? Is it based our different idea of time (homogeneous empty time to something more postmodern, insular, and individualized)? Has gaming been the death of imagined communities based around space and the birth of imagined communities based around interest?
Anyway, these are some of my thoughts around the idea of "imagined" and the "consequences" of new technology. Is technology making these ideas of imagined communities simpler? Or more complex?

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