This paper argues that any comprehensive analysis of the meanings of community and identity at the start of the 21st century must include a consideration of the development, current significance, potential and associated risks of what have been called "computer mediated communication" (CMC), "cybercommunities" and "cyberindentities". The paper comprises an attempt to locate the study of such phenomena within the tradition of the sociological study of community, followed by a brief consideration of contested accounts of their potential and risk. Consideration is then given to the related issue of self and identity within virtual community and debates surrounding the potential for positive liberation or negative licence, deviance and criminality. The paper closes with some initial conclusions on the state and potential of the sociological study of this social phenomenon.
|Publication status||Published - 1 Dec 2004|