Embodiment, Engagement and The Strength Virtual Communities: Avatars of Second Life in Decay

Aleksandra Przegalińska


Second Life is the one of strongest currently known type of cultural, collectively negotiated constructions of virtual reality, and despite its old age (12 years), it is still a platform for interactions for a small but consolidated group of residents. In this paper I will make an attempt to discuss how certain Second Life communities remain strong despite the mediums overall decay. I will mainly focus at the relationships of the members of these successful communities with their avatars putting forward two categories: embodiment and engagement. To support my argument I will focus on case-studies of three significant and dynamical and fantasy communities in Second Life: Goreans, Furries and Tinies. As I will try to show, there are several relevant conclusions emerging from the etnographic research conducted for the purpose of this article. First of all, avatars created within such communities also share particular common traits: they possess features that allow for stronger narrative and/or embodied identification. Secondly, „strong” communities usually put a lot of emphasis on managing communication and interaction among their members.


Second Life; virtual reality; RPG communities; etnography; embodiment; identity

Full Text: