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

Front Cover
Princeton University Press, 2008 - Social Science - 316 pages
3 Reviews

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.

Tom Boellstorff conducted more than two years of fieldwork in Second Life, living among and observing its residents in exactly the same way anthropologists traditionally have done to learn about cultures and social groups in the so-called real world. He conducted his research as the avatar "Tom Bukowski," and applied the rigorous methods of anthropology to study many facets of this new frontier of human life, 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 shows how virtual worlds can change ideas about identity and society. Bringing anthropology into territory never before studied, this book demonstrates 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.

What people are saying - Write a review

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

User Review  - Trevor - Goodreads

This book is one of the latest books approaching the examination of virtual worlds with an anthropological approach. Throughout the book, Boellstorff not only presents readers with an ethnography ... Read full review

Other editions - View all

About the author (2008)

Tom Boellstorff is professor of anthropology at the University of California, Irvine.

Bibliographic information