My immense thanks to those Kiwi friends who have helped get the ‘cab off the rank’ by contributing to this adventure. Every dollar helps.
A few words on my research. I am edging towards completion of the paper which I am hoping to present, although it is somewhat overdue – however it appears that the organising committee in St. Petersburg are somewhat flexible with deadlines – and this has been partly brought on by the Christmas / New Year close down of Institutions worldwide.
Whilst I state that my paper is very conceptual – a provisional investigation into the notion of the ‘tribe’ in online social communities – I am hoping that this (early) work of my own will lead to a more signficant study.
So whilst my investigation commences with Cova, Kozinets and Shankars notion of the ‘Consumer Tribe’ (2007) I have needed to look back at Maffesoli’s defintion of the neo-tribe (English translation 1996). Michel Maffesoli seminal work which was condensed into ‘The time of the tribes: the decline of individualism in mass society’ has been somewhat repudiated by Anthropologists.
What was Maffesoli on about? In his “hypothesis of neo-tribalism” he stated “within a multiform mass there is a multiplicity of micro-groups that escape the normal predictions or commands to identity of the social analysts” ….”the existance of their cultures is no less real” (pp.155).
Whilst the book is fairly dense, and the comment taken somewhat out of context, I have been searching for ideas, comments that may well hold true when applied to the transformative nature of online social communication today. In particular my initial research questions (considerations) which are:
1. Can I confirm the existence of ‘young global communities’ (tribes).
2. Are these ‘tribes’ bypassing traditional communication, networking beyond borders and effecting positive change
What I mean by ‘young global communities’ is shaping its own defintion – but includes cosiderations such as age, geographic borders, language (amongst others) but my jumping off point (or arrival perhaps) is consumerism.
Tomorrow I will write up some short commnets on Cova, Kozinets and Shankars.