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Cultures in virtual worlds
A special issue of the New Review of Hypermedia and Multimedia
Guest-edited by Jeremy Hunsinger and Adrienne Massanari
Virtual worlds (VW) embody cultures, their artefacts, and their praxes; these new and old spaces of imagination and transformation allow humans to interact in spatial dimensions. Within these spaces, culture manifests with the creation, representation, and circulation of meaningful experiences. But virtual worlds are not novel in that regard, nor should we make the mistake to assume that they are novel in themselves. Virtual experiences have been around in some respect for hundreds of years, and virtual worlds based in information technology have existed for at least 40 years. The current generation of virtual worlds, with roots over four decades old in studies of virtual reality, computer supported cooperative work (CSCW), sociology, cultural studies, and related topics, provide for rich and occasionally immersive environments where people become enculturated within the world sometimes as richly as the rest of their everyday lives.
We seek research that encounters and investigates cultures in virtual worlds in its plurality and in its richness. To that end, we invite papers covering the breadth of the topic of cultures in and of virtual worlds.
Some possible areas/approaches of inquiry:
• How culture of virtual worlds affect relationships
• VW interfaces and culture/s
• Hidden subcultures/communities in virtual worlds
• Ages and VW cultures
• Emic and etic experiences of virtual worlds
• Producing VW cultures
• Traditional cultural/critical studies inquiries of VWs
• Transnational or cosmopolitan cultures in/of VWs
While all forms of scholarship and research are welcome, we prefer theoretically and empirically grounded studies. We seek a Special Issue that exemplifies methodological pluralism and scholarly diversity. The use of visual evidence and representations is also encouraged. We especially seek pieces that investigate virtual worlds that have received little scholarly attention.
This special issue is Guest-Edited by Jeremy Hunsinger (Wilfrid Laurier University) and Adrienne Massanari (Loyola University Chicago). Queries regarding the Special Issue should be directed to them at jhuns@– –vt.edu and amassanari@– –luc.edu. The Guest-Editors welcome contributions from both new researchers and those who are more well-established. Submitted manuscripts will be subject to peer review.
Length of papers will vary as per disciplinary expectations, but we encourage articles of around 7000 words (longer articles may be possible, if warranted). Short discussion papers of around 3000 words on relevant subjects are also welcomed as ‘Technical Notes’.
Detailed author submission guidelines are available online at
Papers must be submitted via the journal’s online submissions system:
Please indicate that your submission is for the Special Issue on Culture in Virtual Worlds.
The special issue will be published in summer 2012.
November 11, 2011 Paper submission deadline
February 10, 2012 Author notification
May 5, 2012 Final copy due
Summer 2012 Publication
Wilfrid Laurier University
Center for Digital Discourse and Culture
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