A culturalist critique of ‘online community’ in new media studies
Yuan, Elaine J.
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This essay provides an overview of the theoretical perspectives and trends in the study of online community. It traces the genealogy of the community concept, addressing the conflicting views of community as a morally valued way of life and as a complex of social relationships in Western sociology. The essay also critiques the network approach to online community for its inadequate conceptualization of culture, which provides particular tradition of meanings for social action. Lastly, under the rubrics of development and modernization, the paper contrasts the conception of online community as social network with what has been observed about the social and political lifeworlds of East Asian societies.