Jul 2

Culture of Virtual Worlds

Category: Environmental, Press, Press release, Research, Virtual Worlds by Stone Culdesac

From a notecard inworld:

CALL FOR PAPERS
Journal of Virtual Worlds Research
Special Issue: Culture of Virtual Worlds
Deadline: September 30, 2008
Publication Date: November 20, 2008

Guest Editors
Mark Bell, Indiana University
Mia Consalvo, Ohio University

Early users of virtual worlds trumpeted their potential to bring together like-minded groups to create community, to encourage social activism, and to explore facets of identity. Over the past 20 years, we have seen virtual worlds develop from text-based to graphical, and from 2D to 3D interactive spaces. Some spaces have focused primarily on game-related activities, from MUD through Ultima Online and World of Warcraft, while others have concentrated on social aspects of being, allowing users to define their own goals, and often create many parts of the spaces they inhabit–from LambdaMoo to The Palace and Second Life. Virtual worlds have also become big business at the same time as some worlds remain resolutely tied to different goals. Yet what of the cultures that have grown up in, around, and through virtual worlds in this same time period? What do we know about that culture, or more accurately, those cultures and how to define them?

Individuals, groups, and corporations are exploring the potentials of virtual worlds, and what is created in that process says as much about our everyday lives as it does about our times spent online. But what do we know? Because of their richly detailed spaces, virtual worlds tend to encourage specific sorts of participants and players, along with expectations about behavior and culture. Yet at the same time, we cannot know how participants will create a livable space, develop a unique culture, until it happens. How is that process occurring in today’s virtual worlds? What do we know about past virtual worlds to guide us? We are slowly learning about how identity shifts and mutates online, yet isn’t as free-floating as early theorists claimed. What of users who are in game-centric versus non-game centric places–how does game versus non-game make a difference in who uses the space, how, and why? Likewise, we now see virtual worlds with transnational user bases. How does that impact the culture, the creation, and the experience of virtual worlds. What happens when virtual worlds emerge, when they expand quickly, and when they die, either slowly or suddenly? What happens to users and how do they make sense of those experiences? How do developers play a role in managing all those expectations, and how much can they actually control? These questions are only the tip of iceberg, just as today’s virtual worlds are at the forefront of emergent design of 3D spaces.

This special issue of the Journal of Virtual Worlds Research is dedicated to exploring the issue of culture in virtual worlds. We welcome articles from academic researchers and practitioners in areas such as communications, sociology, psychology, anthropology, information systems, political science, game studies and cultural studies.

Topics of interest include (but not limited to):
• Definitions of Virtual Cultures
• Ethnographies of Virtual Worlds
• Social mechanics and networking in Virtual worlds
• Historical development of Virtual Worlds
• Identity
• Differing goals of play versus non-play centric spaces
• Emergent practices, player-generated content, activities
• Dynamics of economies
• “Serious” uses of Virtual Worlds
• Transnational game spaces, player groups

Guidelines and Deadlines
We welcome submissions in the form of essays, papers, original research, interactive online exhibits with accompanying detailed descriptions, and other forms of scholarship.
For specific submission instructions visit: http://jvwresearch.org

Deadline for Submission: September 30, 2008
Publication: November 29, 2008

For further information contact:

Mark Bell, Indiana U, typewriter@gmail.com
Mia Consalvo, Ohio U, consalvo@ohio.edu

About the Journal
The Journal of Virtual Worlds Research is an online, open access academic journal that adheres to the highest standards of peer review and engages established and emerging scholars from around the world. The Journal of Virtual Worlds Research is a transdisciplinary journal that engages a wide spectrum of scholarship and welcomes contributions from the many disciplines and approaches that intersect virtual worlds research.

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