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Call for Papers for a Special Issue with Ethics and Information Technology on “Friendship Online”

The online world increasingly provides the setting within which many of us pursue our work lives, our hobbies and interests, and even our more intimate lives, such as our friendships and loves. Opportunities to express oneself and form relationships with others have been enormously increased by the online world. But what sorts of identities and relationships are really possible? And as we live more online how might this come to affect how we understand ourselves and our relations with others?

Communication online has provided worlds of self-expression and interaction that seem distinctive in a number of ways. We are, for example, often anonymous online. But even if not anonymous we nevertheless can typically express ourselves and relate to others with little or nil social transaction costs. We can enter and exit communities or relationships without much of the effort or costs usually attached in our traditional worlds and we have unprecedented global opportunities to do so. We are also able to present ourselves and interact with others with unusually high levels of choice and control compared to our self-presentations and interactions in non-virtual worlds. Moreover, focussing on how we can present ourselves to others has itself been taken to new levels online – many, for example, labour over how they present themselves on their personal websites and some of these approximate works of art.

In this special edition we focus on the case of friendship and its apparent flourishing online. People are forming friendships solely online, many claim to have several hundred friends online and increasingly existing friendships are being sustained online. How, if at all, might some features of online communication and its use affect the sort of friendships we can form and maintain? What, if anything, might we learn about the nature and value of close friendship by analysing how they are currently enabled online?

We are interested in papers on the general topic area of friendship in an increasingly online world. The scope of the topic is quite broad, implicating fundamental questions about identity and how we may come to understand ourselves in relation to others online, and about the nature and value of friendship and communication online. Accordingly, our call for papers is quite open within these areas.

Submissions will be double-blind refereed for relevance to the theme as well as academic rigor and originality. High quality articles not deemed to be sufficiently relevant to the special issue may be considered for publication in a subsequent non-themed issue of Ethics and Information Technology.

Closing date for submissions: September 1st 2010

To submit your paper, please use the Springer online submission system, to be found at www.editorialmanager.com/etin

Ethics and Information Technology (ETIN) is the major journal in the field of moral and political reflection on Information Technology. Its aim is to advance the dialogue between moral philosophy and the field of information technology in a broad sense, and to foster and promote reflection and analysis concerning the ethical, social and political questions associated with the adoption, use, and development of IT.