The experience of embodied space in virtual worlds: An ethnography of a second life community

Shaowen Bardzell, William Odom

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations

Abstract

The article examines the mutually constituted relations among avatars, space, and artifacts represented in a Gorean community in Second Life. Combining virtual ethnography (i.e., participant observations and in-depth interviews) with the growingly important concept of experience design in human-computer interaction, the authors explore and unpack the spatial experiences of participants in the community and, with them, the grammar and symbolism of power and submission, of private and public, and consider body as a place for social inscription. The spatial experiences of these participants shed light on the nature of this community (both social and computer-mediated interactions) and help explain why virtual simulation of Gorean fantasy is such a compelling form of play and source of intimacy and emotion for thousands of Second Life residents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)239-259
Number of pages21
JournalSpace and Culture
Volume11
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Urban Studies
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management

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