Den Virtuelle Sociale Værdi

Student thesis: Master Thesis and HD Thesis

  • Pia Dalsgaard Nielsen
4. term, Communication, Master (Master Programme)
This thesis centers on computer-mediated interactive environments and the users of these environments. The object of this paper is to achieve an insight into computer-mediated interactive environments and the social relations individuals can obtain through these interactive environments. This paper is a result of a thesis that calls for the existence of a virtually based social value on computer-mediated interactive environments. This value exists not only as surplus value but embraces the entire computer-mediated environment. The aim of the paper is thus to examine the use of computer-mediated environments including the mutual interactions of its users in order to identify the existence of a virtually based social value. Throughout this paper I will sustain a theoretical discussion to which I will contribute my own observations and reflections. The theoretical discussions in this paper will cover areas such as the individual in modern society, social relationships, and the individual's role in mediated interactions. In order to examine the user of computer-mediated environments I define the individual and identity formation in modern society based primarily upon the theories of German sociologist Thomas Ziehe. I suggest that the individual's identity is an ongoing process based on not only the individual's own primary experiences but also secondary experiences obtained through the media. In the paper I define the term 'virtual' as the kind of social interaction that exists on computer-mediated environments. Chapter 3 proposes that the term 'virtual' can be perceived as an individually bases variable and that the degree of virtuality is based upon the individual's perception of telepresence on the computer-mediated environment. My discussion of a virtually based social value relies on the theories of Professors Stig Hjarvard and Joshua Meyrowitz concerning the individual in the media landscape. Following Meyrowitz, Chapter 4 notes that changes in media often lead to changes in social values. Media thus have a great influence on our social behaviour that can be detected in the individual's new means of interacting on computer-mediated environments. The media open up a world of accessibility and Stig Hjarvard notes that we are living in a sociable society where social relationships are of fundamental importance. The individual's need for sociability is easily met through means of the computer-mediated environments. Computer-mediated environments can free the individual from its "real" social role and allow one to assume a new virtual role provided by the anonymous possibilities of the computer-mediated environment. I argue that computer-mediated interactive environments have a virtually based social value. In my concluding remarks I show that computer-mediated environments open up a world of possible relations that is highly accessible. The computer-mediated relationships become a substitute for real-life relationships and the virtual social life offered by computer-mediated interactive environments extends the individual's physical social life.
Publication date2006
Number of pages113
Publishing institutionAalborg Universitet
ID: 6140462