The essence of collective effervescence: A neo-Durkheimian concept in the virtual world
LE3 .A278 2014
Powers, Ann Marie
Master of Arts
In Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPG), the raid is a ritual carried out by a group of individuals called a guild, all within the confines of a virtual world. In most cases, clear boundaries are drawn to separate the members of one group from the larger community; in some cases, however, the lines between “us and them” blur, allowing guilds to compete for the sacred items or the prestige of progression. Successful raids bring forth feelings of achievement, solidarity, and anticipation of the next raid. An unsuccessful raid leaves its participants with feelings of uncertainty about their role within this setting. When players make mistakes, these are quickly corrected during raids by leaders who coordinate the event. Although the social action within the ritual of these communities takes place in a virtual setting, it elicits real feelings within its participants; yet limited academic research has gone into this unique and new form of computer-mediated ritual. Users from across the world interact through computerized means. While this interaction is not face to face, this new frontier appears to facilitate the creation of strong communities and solidarity within its membership. This thesis will examine whether Durkheim’s concept of collective effervescence is present in this virtual world to create such communities.
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