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Towards a (Meta-)Sociology of the Digital Sphere

[working paper]

Geser, Hans

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Corporate Editor Universität Zürich, Philosophische Fakultät, Soziologisches Institut
Abstract Content: 1. Introductory considerations; 2. The functional universality of digital computer systems as a starting point; 3. Is Cyberspace spatial?; 4. Implications of Cyberspace for the level of Social Interaction and Social Systems; 4.1 Ease of exit and absence of density pressures; 4.2. The Softened Dictatorship of Time; 4.3 The absence of locational anchoring, bodily contacts and primary interpersonal perception; 4.4 The leveling and blurring of Real World status differentials; 4.5 The predominance of volatile, monothematic and project-related social relations; 4.6 The need for highly prespecified codes, symbolic patterns, problem definitions and environmental conditions; 4.7 The rising salience of credibility and trust; 4.8 The facilitated social integration of "strangers"; 4.9 Expansion of highly voluntary social interactions, relationships and roles; 4.10 The softened incompatibility between "egocentric" and "altruistic" action; 4.11 The intrinsic "softness" of digital social systems; 5. Implications of the Internet for the Cultural Level; 5.1 The softening of artifacts and the deletability of the past; 5.2 From producer-guided to receiver-guided culture; 5.3 The demise of stable ex ante classification schemes; 5.4 Toward a "Sampling Culture": from molecular to molar forms of production; 5.5 High mutual "permeabilities" as a condition for blendings and “crossovers”; 6. Implications on the Individual Level; 6.1 From offline individuals to online "dividuals" emanci-pated from body and space; 6.2 Freely chosen and freely modifiable self-constructed identities; 6.3 Support for "externalized selves" and microsocial cultures; 6.4 The blurring distinction between productive and receptive roles; 7. For conclusion: some epistemological and meta-theoretical consequences of Cyberspace for the social sciences; 7.1 The concepts of "Virtual Reality" and "Vireality"; 7.2 The Internet as a "hypersocial" space.
Keywords sociology; interaction; digitalization; virtual reality; Internet; communication; social behavior; social relations; network
Classification Interactive, electronic Media; General Sociology, Basic Research, General Concepts and History of Sociology, Sociological Theories
Document language English
Publication Year 2002
City Zürich
Page/Pages 64 p.
Licence Deposit Licence - No Redistribution, No Modifications
data provider This metadata entry was indexed by the Special Subject Collection Social Sciences, USB Cologne