NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ822462
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-May
Pages: 18
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 36
ISSN: ISSN-1470-8477
Unintended Outcomes in "Second Life": Intercultural Literacy and Cultural Identity in a Virtual World
Diehl, William C.; Prins, Esther
Language and Intercultural Communication, v8 n2 p101-118 May 2008
Since its inception in 2003, the popularity of "Second Life (SL)", an online 3-D virtual environment, has increased exponentially. The global reach of "SL" and the opportunities it provides for cross-cultural exchange using multiple modes of communication in real and virtual worlds make it an ideal venue to examine cross-cultural engagement. Drawing on Cultural Historical Activity Theory and Heyward's model of intercultural literacy, this article analyses findings from an exploratory study examining the construction of cultural identity and development of intercultural literacy among 29 "SL" participants. The authors argue that "SL" Residents participate in an Activity System, engaging in myriad activities (e.g. language classes) which provide structured environments that generate both intended and unintended outcomes. The findings reveal that in many ways participation in "SL" enhanced participants' intercultural literacy--for example, by fostering use of multiple languages, cross-cultural encounters and friendships, greater awareness of insider cultural perspectives, and openness towards new viewpoints. Additionally, respondents used their avatar's appearance to construct shifting cultural identities. Although the cross-cultural exchanges in "SL" do not guarantee intercultural literacy, they provide participants with opportunities to move in that direction. (Contains 2 notes.)
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A