Cyber-Rituals in Virtual Worlds - Wedding-Online in Second Life

Kerstin Radde-Antweiler

Abstract

In the context of Internet Research, Virtual Worlds offer a new environment to meet, communicate and perform rituals - the so called Online-Rituals - in a virtual reality, irrespective of geographical and real-life body conditions. The most prominent example for such worlds that have existed since 1998 is the privately-owned, subscription-based 3D application Second Life. An increasing number of residents use this World not only as a kind of virtual playground but as an enlargement of their real-life possibilities that has to be taken seriously: The users are both socially and religiously very active and consequently transfer real-life activities and therefore also rituals into virtual space. With the shift of technical boundaries former seemingly fixed religious and ritual frameworks will be modified and transformed. Different wedding rituals designed and performed in Second Life, for example, show the possibility to identify processes of ritual transfer and of ritual patchworking.

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