Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Searching for the Leviathan in Usenet

"Searching for the Leviathan in Usenet" in Steve Jones (ed.) Cybersociety: Computer-Mediated Communication and Community, Sage: Thousand Oaks, Calif, 1995.


The purpose of this thesis is to identify signs of Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan in the Usenet computer conferencing network. Certainly nothing that the Usenet users can experience can compare to the Hobbesian scenario in which persons are forced to give up the right to govern themselves in exchange for personal safety. This is certainly true on the surface, but there is another level of interaction within Usenet other than user-to-user. It is the level of the users' "personae," and it is at this level of understanding that the fear of vanishing from existence is ever present and near. For personae within Usenet, life can be described as "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short." And it is for their sakes that this researcher has searched for and found a Leviathan in Usenet.


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