Ethnography in Cyberspace

A course at U Washington, COM 480: Ethnography of role-playing games, explores the culture and economics of the online world of Everquest. The course description is a little unclear on the distinction between the culture within the online context and the culture of the players themselves (if we accept that culture consists at least partially of the relation between the self and its enviroment, then there can be no easy transcription of behaviour in the shared, online enviroment and the culture of the individual, offline players). Also, the course reading is very think on ethnographic material and theory, heavy on cultural criticism and computer science. So I have questions about the execution, but the idea is a good one, a really good one.

Plus, students are required to keep a blog for 20% of their grade. If I believed in memes, I’d say this was a good way of spreading them.

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