Hanging Out in the Virtual Pub: Masculinities and Relationships Online
Author: Lori Kendall
Publisher: Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2002
Review Published: October 2007
The nice thing about seeing reviews of this book so many years after its publication is that I intended it to be relevant beyond the shelf life of the particular technology it discusses. Muds, as Ben Krueger notes, are now a "moderately quaint" type of online forum, but both he and Molly Swiger hone in on the issues I address that apply as well to other types of computer-mediated interactions. I continue to consider these and related issues in the context of other types of online communication, including blogs (Kendall 2007b) and online animated videos (Kendall 2007a).
Prof. Swiger's critique of my treatment of class is accurate and insightful and has made me reflect on why that might be my particular blind spot. A further study of the ways class plays out in discourse and humor would be a fruitful undertaking. I may even dig up some of those old logs again and think about this further.
Swiger's citation of Mary Bucholtz's work on nerds is also pertinent. I did not encounter that work until after this book was completed, but since then I have done further analysis of the cultural implications of the nerd identity, and an article on this topic is forthcoming in the Journal of Popular Culture. For those interested in the issue, a draft of that article, "White and Nerdy: Computers, Race, and the Nerd Stereotype," can be found at the University of Illinois' institutional repository, at http://www.ideals.uiuc.edu/handle/2142/1792.
Finally, I heartily concur with Swiger's suggestion that researchers undertake additional studies in "more popular and mainstream digital cultures." Part of my aim in Hanging Out in the Virtual Pub was to counter then-prevalent hype about revolutionary and liberating effects of online interactions. That hype has died down with regard to the Internet in general, only to rise again in discussions of "Web 2.0" applications such as wikis, blogs, and social networking sites. I continue to be interested in the issue of who benefits and in what ways from particular new technologies and media, and look forward to viewing the work of others in these areas.
Kendall, Lori. 2007a. Colin Mochrie vs. Jesus H. Christ: Messages About Masculinities and Fame in Online Video Conversations, HICSS '07 Conference Proceedings, Hawaii International Conference on Systems Science, January 2007.
Kendall, Lori. 2007b. "Shout Into the Wind, and It Shouts Back": Identity and Interactional Tensions on LiveJournal, First Monday, volume 12, number 9 (September 2007).
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