This book aims to provide insights into how `second lives' in the sense of virtual identities and communities are constructed textually, semiotically and discursively, specifically in the online environment Second Life and Massively Multiplayer Online Games such as World of Warcraft. The book's philosophy is multi-disciplinary and its goal is to explore the question of how we as gamers and residents of virtual worlds construct alternative online realities in a variety of ways. Of particular significance to this endeavour are conceptions of the body in cyberspace and of spatiality, which manifests itself in `natural' and built environments as well as the triad of space, place and landscape. The contributors' disciplinary backgrounds include media, communication, cultural and literary studies, and they examine issues of reception and production, identity, community, gender, spatiality, natural and built environments using a plethora of methodological approaches ranging from theoretical and philosophical contemplation through social semiotics to corpus-based discourse analysis.
Astrid Ensslin is Lecturer in Digital Communication, School of Creative Studies and Media, Bangor University. Eben Muse is Lecturer in Interactive Media, School of Creative Studies and Media, Bangor University.
Introduction, Eben Muse and Astrid Ensslin Part I: Creating Second Communities Chapter One: Liberate your Avatar: The Revolution Will Be Socially Networked, Paul Sermon and Charlotte Gould Chapter Two: An Imagined Community of Avatars? A Theoretical Interrogation of Second Life (TM) as Nation through the Lens of Benedict Anderson's Imagined Communities, Kevin Miguel Sherman Chapter Three: Programming Processes: Controlling Second Lives, Elizabeth Burgess Part II: Creating Second Identities Chapter Four: Embodiment and Gender Identity in Virtual Worlds: Reconfiguring our `Volatile Bodies', Sonia Fizek and Monika Wasilewska Chapter Five: The Body of the Avatar: Constructing Human Presence in Virtual Worlds, Denise Doyle Chapter Six: The Grips of Fantasy: The Construction of Female Characters in and beyond Virtual Game Worlds, Isamar Carrillo Masso Part III: Creating Second Spaces Chapter Seven: Second Chances: Depictions of the Natural World in Second Life (TM), Joseph S. Clark Chapter Eight: Avatar Needs and the Remediation of Architecture in Second Life (TM), Astrid Ensslin Chapter Nine: The Event of Space: Defining Place in a Virtual Landscape, Eben Muse Afterword, Tom Boellstorff