Deviance in Cybercommunities – The Case of Second Life

Victoria Wang, John Tucker, Kevin Haines


We consider the prevailing views that cybercommunities have high levels of deviant behaviour due to three fundamental characteristics that they carry: (i) a considerable plurality of values; (ii) a lack of physicality; and (iii) a strong perception of anonymity. We analyse the roles that these three characteristics play in explaining the nature and frequency of deviance by examining the structural relationship between cybercommunities and the modern real world using Giddens’ work on modernity. The analysis builds upon empirical investigations of the cybercommunity Second Life. Our research suggests that a cybercommunity like Second Life, far from being an abstract deviant community, is more accurately construed as a world of amplified human possibilities, one where constructed self-identities can find rich interpersonal and social relationships.

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International Journal of Criminology and Sociological Theory | ISSN : 1916-2782