Now the website of my seminar ↑Onlinegemeinschaften [online communities] is online as well. Here’s the seminar’s English abstract:
The Internetinfrastructure is the basis for a whole range of sevices (like e.g. www, e-mail, IRC, IM, P2P, Usenet, ftp, etc.). This “new media”—mediators unknown before—do not only enable communication, but especially interpersonal and social interaction. If said interaction reaches a certain density, if the familiarity and mutual trust among the members of a group grows beyond a certain point, then something akin to social structure and culture begins to emerge—things anthropologists are interested in. Compared to the traditional “objects” of sociocultural anthropology and other academical disciplines dealing with culture and society, groups which are formating via electronic media are a relatively young phenomenon. In the first instance the seminar intends to give an idea of online-community. Subsequently the specifical strengths of sociocultural anthropology to understand online-community will be elaborated.