Topic 1: Explore how conflicts arise and are resolved, negotiated, or remain as persistent sources of tension within your community. Look for the linguistic equivalent of that "raised eyebrow" or quiet rebuke we noted earlier in the semester. What kinds of conflict occur in your community, and how do members deal with them? The community approach may range. You may find, for example, that members "agree to disagree," or you may find that appeals to codified authority are invoked (e.g. a charter or mission statement), or you may find that certain salient personalities (perhaps people with good reputations in the community or people with a long knowledge of the history of the community) act as mediators of conflict. As a variant on this theme, consider how your community deals with what it deems transgressive behavior, that is behavior that goes beyond mere conflict and in some sense violates community norms.
Topic 2: One of the things that strikes me in reading the essays you've written so far is their broader social or sociological implications. Some of you are observing communities that represent already existing social structures that have been brought online. In some ways they may have been changed in the process; in others they replicate and perhaps even enhance existing social structures. Others are studying communities that can perhaps only exist online (e.g. because they bring together people who would be unlikely to "meet" in "real life," or because they employ technology that alters the nature of "meeting."). This topic asks you to explore in depth the relation between your community and existing offline social structures. Consider the degree to which your community changes or preserves existing social structures. Consider whether it represents something new, or whether, for example it reflects a transformation of the geographical "great good place."
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