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Title: <論文>〈仮想社会〉のコミュニケーション : インターネットをめぐる社会学的一考案
Other Titles: <ARTICLES>Communications in "Virtual Society" : A Sociological Study of the Internet
Authors: 吉田, 純  KAKEN_name
Author's alias: YOSHIDA, Jun
Issue Date: 25-Dec-1995
Publisher: 京都大学文学部社会学研究室
Journal title: 京都社会学年報 : KJS = Kyoto journal of sociology
Volume: 3
Start page: 21
End page: 38
Abstract: The Internet, the global complex of computer networks, is often regarded as an epochmaking communication medium, which will spread incomparably the sphere of personal communications, and as a result, establish a global electronic community beyond national boundaries or borders. But to what extent such journalistic discourses (will) express accurately the social reality is a sociological problem. This article aims to examine the basic characteristics of the Internet from a sociological perspective, and to prepare to analyze the social reality which is being constructed through communications in the Internet, so called "virtual society" or "virtual community", by considering the properties of the Internet as a personal communication medium. In Japan, there has been two major approaches in sociological studies of BBS. One is the idealistic approach, which expects BBS to function as a public sphere, in which the members participate in discussions on public matters and construct public opinions. The other is the empirical approach, which finds the property of BBS in the member's identification with "virtual society" constructed thorough "playing" communications for the purpose of communication itself. According to this approach, BBS multiplies the social reality of the members into "virtual society" and "real society", and deprives the latter of the superiority as "supreme reality". Compared with BBS, the Internet can be characterized as "open network" in following aspects: i) The Internet is more wide-spread and flexible network than BBS. ii) In the Internet, multimedia messages can be more easily communicated than in BBS. iii) In the Internet, anonymity of the members is lower than in BBS. In other words, "virtual society" in the Internet is more opened, i.e. closely related, to "real society", than "virtual society" in BBS. Therefore, in the Internet, two "societies" penetrate each other, and the Internet can be both an area of "playing" communication and a public sphere. To analyze this multiple social reality in the Internet, a new sociological framework need to be established, because the main field of modern sociology has been so far limited in "real society".
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