Culture and acculturation in a cybercommunity of practice

Robyn Lesley Rivka Lieba Niesten (2011). Culture and acculturation in a cybercommunity of practice PhD Thesis, School of Languages and Comparative Cultural Studies, The University of Queensland.

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Author Robyn Lesley Rivka Lieba Niesten
Thesis Title Culture and acculturation in a cybercommunity of practice
School, Centre or Institute School of Languages and Comparative Cultural Studies
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2011-04
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Professor Emeritus Roland Sussex
Total pages 334
Total colour pages 25
Total black and white pages 309
Language eng
Subjects 20 Language, Communication and Culture
Abstract/Summary The purpose of this dissertation is to examine the culture of the Hotline Cyber Community of Practice, and to investigate how new users ("newbies") acquire the necessary linguistic and social skills to acculturate to this community. The study of the culture of the Hotline Cyber Community of Practice (CyberCoP) considers the values, norms, and traditions of the community, and focuses on the aspects of belonging and the distinction between groups: newbies and advanced users. It analyses the Hotline CyberCoP by taking the reader through the acculturation process as experienced by newbies. Newbies are initially ignorant of every aspect of the culture of the Hotline CyberCoP, whereas advanced users have knowledge of the program, language, behaviour, and even secret codes. This study takes what is principally an ethnomethodological approach, as it analyses the characteristics and interconnectedness of categories in the data set. Data were collected over an eleven-month period in order to verify categories in the data set. Informants were also used to help decode the higher-level aspects of the in-group's knowledge base. It was found that newbies go through a process of change, both linguistically and in terms of acquiring group membership through Legitimate Peripheral Participation. They have to undertake a number of tasks in order to become functioning members of the Hotline Cybercommunity of Practice. These include creating a social identity, playing roles, learning group mores, and group language practices. Even advanced members are not exempt from the acculturation process, which in important respects is continuous and incremental as the culture of the Cybercommunity evolves. The study contributes to an understanding of interpersonal communication, language, culture, naming, personal identity, customs, and the processes of acculturation in an online CyberCoP. It also contributes to a wider understanding of acculturation, and of online interactive communication, communities, and discourse. The significance of the research is that it is the first study of the Hotline Cyber Community of Practice to be undertaken. Because Hotline was established in the 1990s the program contained many more features and members had more control over the entire CyberCoP than newer technologies such as Skype and Facebook. An understanding of the processes and dynamics of group formation, and maintenance provides a rare opportunity to examine the creation and management of a group ethos, and gives greater understanding the way in which the Hotline Cyber Community of Practice deals with newbies. The study provides valuable insights to sociologists, linguists, and educators, who wish to understand the way in which Cyber Communities of Practice work, or who are planning to utilise these for online learning.
Keyword Culture, acculturation, community of practice, naming, role playing, groups, language, online chat
Additional Notes 45, 83, 92-96, 98, 100-101, 106, 119, 121, 123, 128, 135, 137, 139, 159, 249, 260, 265, 282-284

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Created: Fri, 20 Jan 2012, 14:43:39 EST by Ms Robyn Niesten on behalf of Library - Information Access Service