Utopian Sociality. Online

in The Cambridge Journal of Anthropology
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  • 1 University of Cambridge njl34@cam.ac.uk
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The metaworld Ultima Online was designed to foster 'tight communities' of inhabitants. So ware users frequently say it has done just that. Yet many users spend most of their time online alone, engaged in practices of self-realization, individuation, and skill maximization. Drawing on Wilde's utopian writings, I suggest that Ultima Online has fostered an emergent sociality of sympathetic individualism - but that characterizing this as 'community', 'friendship' and 'camaraderie' also allows users to engage with seemingly opposed communitarian tropes of the good life. This affords insights into how ethical imaginations influence emergent forms of human sociality.

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