Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Liberal Studies (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Eugene Clasby

Second Committee Member

George Wilson

Third Committee Member

Tomas Lopez


The notions of community and identity are discussed and the various elements of each concept are analyzed in terms of their manifestation in physical and virtual spaces. A comparison of community and identity in physical and virtual spaces highlights the interdependent nature of these experiences in the intersection of these two spaces. Modern society functions through the use of technology that is ever increasing in speed and efficiency. We rely more and more on virtual technology as a tool to maintain relationships, perform various tasks, communicate and interact with others, and to manage our self-presentations. Thus, the fundamental experiences of community and identity must be studied in both online and offline contexts in order to determine how we can manipulate our use of technology for positive outcomes.


virtual communities; virtual identity; online vs. offline; online community; online identity; physical and virtual spaces