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Identity and communication in cyberspace MUDs : gender anf virtual culture

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2006
Soyseçkin, İdil Safiye
This thesis investigates if it is possible to speak about a virtual culture. If so, it seeks to answers to the following questions: Is it possible to mention a culture peculiar to cyberspace or virtual culture is just a mirror of real life culture? Where does the body position? How have been identities experienced? What does fluid and fragmented identity mean? Does it offer a space of opportunities? How has been gender formed on cyberspace? Is removal of gender barriers possible? Answers to all these questions have been explored through text-based virtual reality environments on the Internet called MUDs in which creating alternative identities is possible. A survey and interviews as well as direct and participant observations for the exploration of MUD environments have been conducted. Mostly, MUDs called, LambdaMOO and Aardwolf, and then Cabülka Cabülsa have become central sites of observations and interviews. The findings show that cyberspace has its rules and limitations which are not independent from the real world. Since gender is a key component indicating the society interacts, culture of cyberspace cannot stay aside. Despite possibility of gender switching, stereotypical gender performances continue to exist. However cyberspace is a new and rich communication environment in respect of facilities it offers and its future structure and form largely depend on the users.