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Virtual worlds and the nation-state

August 13, 2009

By Tim Stevens over at ubiwar

Back from a short break, with a full inbox, and a few hours to actually do some real blogging before everything kicks in again tomorrow. This article from Aleks Krotoski in The Guardian piqued my interest, not least because I’ve just been writing some stuff along the same lines. I can’t remember reading Aleks’ stuff before, but I’m now subscribed to her blog on technology and interactivity – looks like she’s a smart (and busy) cookie.

Why World of Warcraft May Be the Future of the Nation-State, Aleks Krotoski, The Guardian

When a bunch of trolls have their own currency, telecoms and justice system, governments get nervous

I have never played World of Warcraft. I do not intend to. I have no prejudice against players of this massively multiplayer online game; some of my best friends are deeply engaged in it. And although they keep applying pressure with invitations to virtual dinner parties and online raids, I resist. I will not align with Alliance or Horde, I won’t be a blood elf, a tauren or a gnome. I’m quite happy just looking, watching, studying the new world order that they’re building.


Read on…

5 Comments leave one →
  1. August 14, 2009 6:53 am

    John, many thanks for the link! I’ve replied to your original comment on this piece at Ubiwar – it includes a little story …

  2. Alberto Sanchez-Allred permalink
    September 11, 2009 3:55 am

    An anthropologist would have to align with the Alliance or Horde, become a blood elf, a tauren or a gnome, if only as part of their research methods.

    John, thank you for sharing.


  3. September 11, 2009 9:24 am

    Could one not simply be ’embedded’, as with a journalist?

  4. September 13, 2009 5:09 pm

    Thanks both.

    Alberto: well, that’s precisely what Boellstorff does in his 2008 monograph Coming of Age in Second Life: he becomes the avatar Tom Bukowski, see

  5. Alberto Sanchez-Allred permalink
    September 15, 2009 1:31 am

    Ah, yes. I already read your review John. Thank you. I am putting together a syllabus for a course on media for spring semester and your fingerprints will certainly be on it.

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