Coming of Age in Second Life: An Anthropologist Explores the Virtually Human

Boellstorff, Tom


Millions of people around the world today spend portions of their lives in online virtual worlds. Second Life is one of the largest of these virtual worlds. The residents of Second Life create communities, buy property and build homes, go to concerts, meet in bars, attend weddings and religious services, buy and sell virtual goods and services, find friendship, fall in love–the possibilities are endless, and all encountered through a computer screen. Coming of Age in Second Life is the first book of anthropology to examine this thriving alternate universe.  After two years of fieldwork in Second Life as the avatar “Tom Bukowski,” 1999 IDRF Fellow and 2010 DPDF Virtual Worlds Research Director Tom Boellstorff shows how virtual worlds can change ideas about identity and society, including issues of gender, race, sex, money, conflict and antisocial behavior, the construction of place and time, and the interplay of self and group. Coming of Age in Second Life brings anthropology into territory never before studied, demonstrating that in some ways humans have always been virtual, and that virtual worlds, in all their rich complexity, build upon a human capacity for culture that is as old as humanity itself. Buy from Amazon