The main channels of impact are likely to be: 1 slower export growth; 2 return of migrant workers and deceleration in their remittances; 3 dampened consumer expectations and investments; and 4 sluggish disbursement of foreign assistance from G7 economies in FY Immediate Impacts of Recession Financial Sector Contagion Very limited or no exposure to toxic financial assets and little foreign portfolio investments three percent minimised potential losses for the economy from the meltdown in the global financial sector.
Under directives from the Central Bank of Bangladesh i. Bangladesh Bank, all financial institutions converted their foreign assets into safe assets mitigating loss from the collapse of international financial institutions. Stock markets in Bangladesh suffered only moderate losses. Since local commercial banks—dominant players in the financial sector—were largely unaffected by the crisis abroad, there was no liquidity crisis and both deposit and credit demand remained healthy.
Figure 1 illustrates growth of domestic credit. Recent developments and a review of other indicators point to a continued decline in export receipts through the end of FY09 end-June. Figures 2 and 3 depict the developments in overall exports and garment exports respectively. The extent and speed of the fall in export receipts and the broad base were unprecedented in Bangladesh and can only be explained by the external demand and price developments.
Policy Research Institute of Bangladesh PRI , a private think tank, carried out a product-by-product trend analysis based on monthly data of recent years through September , and compared the trend with post-September export outturns. The analysis provides insights into the export shortfall resulting from the global economic crisis.
During the first quarter of FY09 July—September most categories of exports exceeded the trend by significant margins. The outlook changed sharply after October , with the beginning of the economic crisis in industrial countries which are the primary destinations of Bangladeshi exports.
Three-fourths of the shortfall is attributed to textile products and other exports categories, while all other important export categories also recorded significant shortfalls. Foreign Trade Export After a very strong first quarter, exports slowed down markedly from October onwards. Almost all categories of exports registered a marked slowdown readymade garments—RMGs—and knitwear or a sharp decline in almost all exports except textiles.
Between October and April , export growth slowed down to only 1. Even high performing countries like China and India have recorded a sharp decline in export in recent months, following double-digit expansion over a prolonged period. Other high performing economies like those of Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines and Indonesia are also suffering because of the ongoing crisis. Along with other exports, textile exports including garment from these countries are also declining sharply due to the economic meltdown in North America and Europe.
In contrast, export of textile products from Bangladesh surprisingly remains comparatively buoyant. Knitwear and woven garments exports have increased by Although the high growth rate can partly be attributed to last year's low base during this period, and with the growth rate likely to somewhat come down in the coming months, most garment and knitwear exporters are bullish about the near-term outlook and are talking about shortage of skilled manpower in the sector.
Naturally, one would like to ask why the Bangladesh experience is so different from the rest of the world. The most common explanation is the "Wal-Mart effect"—named after the world's largest retailer based in the US, which caters mostly to ordinary Americans. The argument is based on the hypothesis that since Bangladesh primarily exports low-. Imports Year on year growth of import payments declined steadily due to fall in commodity prices and lower demand.
For example, import payments in June were Figure 4 shows precipitous decline in imports Fy Inward Flow of Remittances Over the period —07 and —08, a record number of Bangladeshi workers 1. The total number of migrant workers is estimated to be about 6. Outward migration has slowed down considerably in recent months due to lack of demand for such workers in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and Singapore, in the face of sluggish economic growth and depression in the construction and service sectors.
Figures 5 and 6 depict the decline in overseas employment and remittances respectively. There has been a deceleration in the growth of remittance since August owing to low outward migration of workers. Foreign Aid Even amidst the recession in its major development partner countries, Bangladesh has so far been able to maintain the trend of inflow of foreign assistance.
However, the increase in foreign assistance during July—October over the same period in was only 1. If the recession continues, there will either be a minimal rise in foreign assistance or, in an unlikely scenario, there could even be negative growth. However, given the declining contribution of foreign assistance over the past years and the increasing share of remittance in foreign inflows, the overall balance of payments position will remain healthy. Secondary Impacts Investment The adverse impact of the marked slowdown in export and remittance growth is spreading onto the broader domestic economy.
Exports and remittances together amount to more than one-quarter of Bangladesh's gross domestic product GDP and have been important factors contributing to domestic growth.
Millions of ordinary Bangladeshi households across the country are the direct beneficiaries of remittance inflows and a large part of domestic demand expansion also depends on such inflows. The uncertain economic outlook created by the global economic crisis has contributed to slower investment by the private sector.
Reflecting this sentiment, demand for industrial term loans decreased by 9. Revenue Collection The government is also facing a significant shortfall in tax revenue due to lower imports and slower domestic activity. The revenue performance was in surplus during July—September but sharply turned into a growing shortfall thereafter.
At that time it was envisaged that the targeted NBR revenue growth of As it turned out, NBR achieved All major taxes recorded sluggishness in growth after September The deteriorating collection of overall revenue, particularly import based taxes are shown in figures 7 and 8 respectively.
Figure 7: Revenue Collection in — 08 and — Third, implementing an ambitious PPP programme in a recessionary environment will be an uphill task. Risk allocation, arranging least-cost financing, and finding entrepreneurs and banks with requisite risk appetite for PPP projects will remain a formidable challenge.
About The existing safety-net programmes have been strengthened and some new programmes have been introduced. Total allocation to the safety-net and empowerment programmes has been increased by Response by Government Fiscal policy has an expansionary stance in the FY10 budget, with fiscal deficit increasing to 5 percent of GDP, compared with 4. This counter-cyclical stance is appropriate, given the weakness in the economy and, if implemented fully, will help boost domestic demand and employment generation.
The response is also measured taking into account the financing constraints from domestic and foreign sources. Combined allocations under these two categories have been increased by 65 percent in order to boost domestic demand and with the aim to reduce the infrastructure gap at the same time.
While the expansionary stance envisaged in the budget is appropriate, for it to have a positive impact on domestic demand, the investment plan needs to be implemented effectively. The government responded to the slowdown in economic activity with a modest incentive package. In March , a fiscal stimulus package in the amount of Tk As part of the package, cash incentives were increased for adversely impacted sectors like leather 2. Total allocations for the export sectors were Tk4.
Larger allocations were made for agriculture, power and social safety-net programmes under the special incentive package. The package also allowed for greater flexibility with respect to repayment of bank loans for all manufacturing exporters.
Funds available under different special refinancing schemes were also increased for small and medium enterprises and the housing industry. Macroeconomic Outlook and Challenges Notwithstanding the tough global circumstances, the Bangladesh economy entered FY10 from a position of strength. Fruitful agricultural harvests, a sustained growth in exports and remittances, and a steady growth in services helped achieve an estimated overall growth of 5.
A decline in international commodity prices driven by the global recession and an improvement in domestic food supplies brought inflation down from 10 percent in FY08 to an estimated 7 percent in FY Rice prices remained stable at nearly 40 percent below their peak price in April The economy has shown reasonable stability in terms of most other macroeconomic indicators.
Improvements in foreign reserves and the inflation outlook are shown in figures 9 and 10 respectively. The task however will not be easy. First, the planned surge in ADP spending, reversing the declining trend in recent years, will be a challenging task.
It will require significant. This is expected to cause a slowdown in remittance earnings in the near-term. However, all these positive developments do not mean that Bangladesh has gone through the global recession unscathed. Economic growth in FY10 is expected to decline further, marking the fourth consecutive year of a declining growth rate. So far, the global recession has affected Bangladesh mainly by way of a decline in non-garment exports, slower growth in manpower exports remittances , and some slackening in investment momentum.
A number of Bangladesh's major trading partners are projected to be in a deep recession in —the US economy is expected to shrink by 3 percent, the EU by 4. These prospects, together with some domestic developments, pose several risks for Bangladesh in the coming months.
For example, it may be difficult to sustain the increase in agricultural growth achieved last year because of capacity constraints in the dominant crop sector and depressed rice prices this year. The declining trend in the manufacturing sector, particularly in export-oriented industries, is also expected to continue.
Continued weakness in external demand as reflected in recent declines in export orders for knitwear and woven garments may moderate growth of export earnings further from 12 percent experienced during the first 11 months of FY Investment is likely to remain subdued.
Letter of credit LC openings and settlements for the import of capital machinery declined respectively by Weak demand for credit has left the banking system awash with liquidity. The performance of the services sector is susceptible to the weakening of manufacturing activities as well as a possible further slowdown in remittance growth. The outflow of. These risks occur against a background in which the current low inflation cannot be taken for granted.
Non-food inflation has been rising since December , while food inflation began to rise from April Recovery in advanced economies may tighten international commodity markets leading to a resurgence of international commodity price increases later in FY The large increase in the nominal rate of protection to consumer goods provided with the FY10 budget could also contribute to price escalation.
Real estate prices appear to be heading upwards which can potentially impact consumer prices with a lag. Bangladesh Bank will, therefore, have its hands full in conducting a monetary policy in FY10 that aims to accommodate the economy's credit needs while keeping inflation below seven percent.
The other major risks to the macroeconomic management arise from possible shortfalls in revenue collection and in the ambitious target for mobilisation of external financing. Domestic financing requirement, as envisaged in the budget, is already quite high at 15 percent of the beginning stock of broad money.
Any shortfall in external financing from this target will force the government to cut ADP spending to protect private sector credit, thereby undermining the government's expansionary fiscal stance. The buzzword for Bangladesh economy has been resilience shown under adverse circumstances. Time and again, the economy has out performed relative to expectations under the most difficult conditions. However, policy vigilance must be sustained for a similar outcome this time.
Endnotes 1. A fiscal year FY is from the month of July to the month of June. According to a report prepared by international development community, cyclone Sidr resulted in nearly 4, death or missing persons, affected 2.
In this measure, for Bangladesh, contribution of trade was the highest Update , September. Bangladesh Bank Monthly Economic Trends. Statistics Department, vol. Monthly Economic Indicators: Monthly Update. Monetary Policy Department, vol. Bhattacharya, D. July, International Development Community, January, Khan, M. Financing Large Projects. Singapore: Pearson, March, Mansur, Ahsan. Policy Research Institute of Bangladesh, July, Rahman, M, K. Moazzem and S. Centre for Policy Dialogue, paper 80, March, United Nations Development Programme, Globalisation and Bhutanese Economy Komol Singha I do not want my house to be walled in on all sides and windows stuffed.
I want the cultures of all the lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet. I refuse to live in other's houses as an interloper, a beggar or a slave.
Thus development must represent the whole gamut of change by which an entire social system—tuned to the diverse basic needs and desires of individuals and social groups within that system—moves away from a condition of life widely perceived as unsatisfactory towards a situation or condition of life regarded as materially and spiritually better.
Development policies or programmes should be need-based and tuned to the local environment without disturbing the original system. Hershock opines that sustainable development of a nation needs four components; representative and interconnected issue areas meeting subsistence needs; technology transfer; cultural conservation; and the role of governance.
The Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan is a small nation with a land area of approximately 47, sq. The total population of the country is reported as , people—with 69 percent residing in rural areas. Globalisation and the recent move from monarchy to modern nation-state have transformed the Bhutanese economy, which is moving towards globalisation and modernisation.
In the process, the nation confronts multi-faceted challenges that pose a grave threat to its traditional socio-economic structure. Objectives of the Study Development without values, culture and ethics is an elusive goal; the preservation of culture and tradition is equally important for the development process in a globalised world.
The following three basic propositions are presented here to substantiate this. Keeping these three basic standpoints in mind, this paper tries to highlight the importance of GNH in enhancing the overall development of the country in the midst of abundant resources without sacrificing any values and principles.
The specific objectives of the study are identified as follows:. Methodology and Chapter Scheme The present study is descriptive and analytical and based on secondary data. The data is obtained from journals, books and other related publications.
To validate the study, the researcher interviewed a few scholars of the country and incorporated some relevant changes that have taken place in the society. The study is divided into six sections. Section 1 gives a brief introduction of development processes and Bhutan.
Objectives, methodology and chapter scheme are also included in this section. Section 2 deals with a brief concept of globalisation and its effects on Bhutan's socio-economic structure. Section 3 explains Bhutan's economy and how the country has changed its socio-economic structure. Section 4 discusses the concept of GNH and its middle-path strategy for overall development process. Section 5 analyses the information given in the previous sections and Section 6 concludes the paper.
Globalisation and Bhutan Globalisation helps in interaction and integration among people, companies and governments of different nations. Its volume and trends are driven by international trade and investment and aided by information technology.
Implications Fakuyama believes that all the institutions in the world will disappear gradually, leaving only globalisation in the long run. But globalisation is not neutral Rowbotham. It also exacerbates the existing poverty and inequality within and among countries. Bardwaj and Hossain also opine that globalisation accounts for rising inequality in society. UNDP's Human Development Report reveals that the financial dealers, multinational corporations MNCs , tourists and highly-skilled labour will benefit from the globalised world.
The adverse impact of neoliberal reforms being aggressively pursued in the name of globalisation since the s in Latin America and s in Asia and Africa has resulted in certain common trends and patterns of underdevelopment Gudavarthy It is probably due to the impact of media and communication technologies and the possible growth of more cosmopolitan culture. Amin and Thrift eds. They further stress that adaptable regions with a diverse institutional presence can harness the forces of globalisation to suit their own ends.
Other regions, with more rigid institutional structures, face a bleak future. In the opinion of Bhagwati , the principal focus of anti-globalisers is not the effect of globalisation on economic prosperity but its harm to social agendas such as the reduction of child labour and poverty, the maintenance of rich-country labour and environmental standards, the exercise of national sovereignty, the maintenance of local culture, and women's rights and welfare. The contrary view, which he defends in his essay, is that economic globalisation advances the achievement of that social agenda.
But one must ask: what institutional and policy framework is necessary to improve on the benign outcomes that globalisation fetches? Accelerated globalisation since the middle of the twentieth century has helped to further expand commodification through a combination of six developments.
First, global markets have increased the scale of older forms of commodification in primary and industrial goods. Second, consumerism—much of it related to global products—has considerably extended the range of industrial capital. Whereas previously manufacturing concentrated on bulk textiles, steel, chemicals, armaments and so on, it has over the past century also increasingly encompassed a plethora of branded articles destined for immediate personnel consumption. Third, the growth of supra-territorial connectivity has greatly expanded finance capital beyond its far more modest scope from a hundred years back.
Global banking, securities, derivatives and insurance markets have hugely increased both the volume and the variety of financial instruments that serves not only to facilitate other kinds of production but also as channels of accumulation in themselves.
Fourth, globalisation has encouraged the spread of commodification into new areas involving information and communications. As a result, items such as computer software and telephone calls have also become the means to achieve surplus accumulation.
Fifth, global companies and global markets have promoted the emergence of biotechnology and nano-technology industries. Sixth, global migration has contributed to increase commodification of care work.
The development of an economy centres on the environment of the nation, including material resources and socio-cultural system. The effect of globalisation on a country's economy can be discussed in two broad dimensions—positive and negative.
There is no denying that technological progress of recent years has transformed Bhutan's lives, especially in communications, the power sector and access to knowledge. The country's development process has accelerated after foreign assistance in the capital investment sector. Very little has been done so far in the form of foreign direct investment FDI. The ODA to Bhutan is mostly donorfunded in the form of grants directed chiefly towards development projects Choden and Penjore , 32 —one of the benefit of globalisation.
The power sector is funded by India and helps in achieving the double digit figure of country's GDP real growth Over the last two decades, developments in information, communications and transport networks and services have brought dramatic changes to the Bhutanese economy.
These sectors continue to fuel Bhutan's socio-economic growth and will become even more vital in light of the impending political changes taking place in the country.
The information and communications technology ICT sector has. Fixed-line tele-density has increased from 2. Computing and networking is gradually becoming a part of everyday life in Bhutan. Competition has been introduced in the ICT market with a view to rationalise tariffs and offer more choices for Bhutanese consumers. All stakeholders, including the government and industry, now recognise the important role that ICTs play in enhancing good democratic governance.
The media sector has also seen some significant changes in its market structure and institutional setup. Two private newspapers have been licensed and 49 percent shares of Kuensel English daily newspaper divested to the public. The local music and film industry is becoming more competitive, innovative and indigenous. Bhutan Broadcasting Service BBS provides both radio and television services across the kingdom as the national public service broadcaster.
Its FM radio service covers all 20 dzongkhags districts. The Department of Information and Media has been established to coordinate and enable the smooth development of the media sector. Privatisation of passenger transport services began in on a pilot basis and was achieved fully by October The Department of Civil Aviation, established in January , is responsible for providing air traffic services, operation and maintenance of airports, and setting and monitoring safety standards for safe and efficient operation of air services.
The department has undergone massive transformation over the years, evolving from being a small agency to a multifaceted and professionally responsible organisation. The Civil Aviation Act , Bhutan Air Navigation Regulations and other international requirements provide the legal and regulatory framework for safety and security of air transport operations in Bhutan RGB, Ministry of Information and Communications However, although major reforms were introduced soon after the third Druk Gyalpo's king of Bhutan accession to the throne in , it was only during the s that the modernisation process became comprehensive Mathou Over the last few years, television sets are replacing choeshums altars in Bhutanese homes.
The recent introduction of television and radio may also lead to the development of a consumerist society, ignoring traditional and cultural values. Many new artists will unavoidably engage in creative hybridisation, e. Zhungdra-rock music and Zhungdrabhangda dance. Layard also mentions that after the introduction of television, social life in the United States, Canada, England and some other western countries has reduced while the amount of aggression among children has already increased.
The sacred relic—Rangjung Khasarpani—was nearly smuggled into the antiques market of Taiwan Wangchuk In a similar manner, Smith also highlights the. But any attempt to limit such networks to Bhutan national boundaries is doomed to fail. The pressures of globalisation in Bhutan are also increasing.
The rate of inequality is increasing at an alarming pace. Private institutions which only affluent families can afford, have come up;6 the majority of the population living in remote villages is three to four days walk from the nearest school Ueda Can these people afford private education? Trends in Bhutanese Economy Bhutan's modernisation agenda began in the s under the third king who focused on reforming the legal framework and introducing the National Assembly.
The fourth king accelerated these reforms with the drafting of a constitution, a shift of power to the prime minister, and the introduction of democratic elections, the first of which took place in You can also customize your audio quality with changing settings.
The first. Other things you do with avaiable. Opus uses a 20 ms frame size by default, as it gives a decent mix of low latency and. WMA was unable to go higher than kbps because, for some unknown reason, Microsoft has limited Media Player to that bitrate.
Employed by programs such as Skype and Mozilla. Speed: max. Polski katalog torrent, najlepsze torrenty do pobrania za darmo w jednym miejscu.
You can also change the settings for increase audio quality. Click the arrow in the top-right corner and select Settings. I personally consider Kbps MP3 to be the absolute acceptable minimum bitrate for music. In the case of mp3, for kbps or higher in most cases the benefits are minimal or you're better off just disabling it. Electronic Uriel. However I've also started to experiment with converting some of these files to the OPUS format for smaller streaming size, however when attempting to play these converted files rather than using Direct Play PLEX is electing.
Boyz N Blue The broadcast is not set to constant bitrate CBR. File extension. Vighnaharta Ganesh. Calidad: kbps Some flac and opus streams are down at the moment. As for Opus. Open Files. Worth noting, M4A files can also store images.
The broadcast formats were simulated in the manner described in the following methodology - whilst not quite as good as using full transmission modulation and demodulation chains, it is hoped that these simulations are "good enough" for comparison purposes.
Upload and convert multiple OPUS files at the same time. Opus is a lossy audio coding format developed by the Xiph. Format introduction: MPEG-1 is a standard for lossy compression of video and audio. Opus is a lossy audio coding format developed by Xiph and standardized by the IETF, designed to efficiently code speech and general audio in a single format, while remaining low-latency enough for real-time interactive communication and low-complexity enough for low end ARM3 processors.
Not convinced? This was also the band debut for Allison Wheeler who replaced the departing Jacqui Abbott. All songs were written by Paul Heaton and Dave Rotheray. Briana Corrigan is a Northern Irish singer.
She was the female singer for The Beautiful South from to David Rotheray is an English rock and pop musician, best known for being the lead guitarist for The Beautiful South. It was written by Paul Heaton and Dave Rotheray.
The song reached number 12 on the UK Singles Chart, becoming the band's twelfth and final top-twenty hit. The album entered the British chart at No. It was released before their split on 30 January The album was produced by the former Tears for Fears keyboard player Ian Stanley. Considered typical of the band's gently subversive, self-reflexive signature style, it is sung from the point of view of a cynical songwriter who romances women solely to get material for love songs.
The song was originally found on the album Beautiful South and later appeared on two greatest hits compilations - 's Carry on up the Charts and 's Soup. As a single it reached no. The album version ran for 5 minutes 15 seconds. The song was originally released on the album Beautiful South.
It features as the opening track and was the first single released from the album in February The single reached a peak of No.
The Beautiful South. Retrieved 28 February Finally, we asked them whether they have ever spent time or money on in-game acquiring a piece of clothing that is not of any particular value to their stats or progress in the game.
A total of players began the survey and completed it. In all, players answered all questions in the survey, except one. The question left unanswered by nearly 20 people asked at which occasions the clothing of players played a role for interaction; we believe this question went unanswered because it was similar to an earlier question asking when players notices the clothing of other players.
The numbers provided below are based on the responses of the players. This population resembles our in-game experience as to the ratio male-female and the frequency of play in PVP vs RPG servers.
Again, we do not claim that this matches the real population of the game, as Blizzard does not provide data verifying these numbers. Do you look at what other players are wearing? These answers indicate that a majority of players do in fact pay attention to what other players are wearing, especially when it is safe to do it, when they have time to socialize with others inside a city, or when they are with players that they might not know particularly well, but still spend some time with, such as in group or during a raid.
However, a more detailed analysis reveals that players on the role-playing oriented servers find clothing at player-generated events more important than the overall results tells us, but this does not change the general impression the survey indicates: responses seem to indicate that clothing does play a role in relation to when and if players choose to interact with other players.
As we discovered, 63 percent of the twenty four players playing on a rp-pvp server noticed what other players wore at player-generated rp events and 70 percent said clothing plays a role for interaction at these events. This percentage is far higher than the number of respondents playing on role-playing oriented servers, which were the type of players we expected might be interested in clothing.
As a follow-up to the survey, we decided to do in-depth in-person interviews with players in order to see if their experience of the game and clothing were similar to the impression of the use of clothing we got from the survey and our own analysis. These players were not selfselected as they had not expressed any previous interest in fashion and the only thing they knew when they came to the interview was that we would inquire about their experience playing WoW.
As one of our main interests was to discover the social meaning constructed in relation to fashion and clothing, we held the interview as a group interview, since we expected the social interplay between the participating players might give us insight that we would not have gotten in one-on-one interviews. Both have played WoW for several years, both are end-game players who have levelled a number of characters to the endlevel, and both are members of large serious guilds.
Mette plays on a PvP and Jens plays on roleplaying server. As a part of the interview, we presented them with some screenshots of differently attired players, and they immediately began to interpret them, making rather accurate. These were surprisingly similar to the way we decode fashion in real life. Our conversation with these players reinforced our interpretation of how fashion is a present element in the live culture of the game. They confirmed the importance of how a character looks, although this is different depending where your character is in the levelling process.
This means there are some long grinding stretches where playing with appearance is a welcome diversion, and other times when it is not appropriate, such as when doing high level instancing.
Their comments are incorporated in our arguments below. Thought they just looked pretty. Then there are the winterveil festival clothes — thought they looked very well modeled if a bit revealing lol.
Its nice to have some clothes to wear while your just being casual around a city or something, to just look different. The same is true in reality I think female, Fashion is important for many people, yet it has always been a suspect topic. To cultural critics like Veblen or Barthes , fashion is one of the best examples of human irrationality, a futile pastime only practiced by dupes generally women.
Fashion belongs to the aesthetic branch. Our lives resemble each other, but the clothes we wear can make us special and different. One could argue that our clothes also resemble each other because we all buy them from the same mass produced stores; but the variety is such in the nature of the combinable items, the shapes, the colors, and textures, that each person can have their own style and feel unique English, , p.
The same happens in WoW. Players even make their own combinations based on the available pieces. Mette, our interviewee, told us that at the beginning, she would look at the clothing of the members of a very prestigious high-level guild, Nihilium, in order to learn how to dress and gear-up. Inspirational Fashion Fashion inspires players in many ways. Besides the in-game activity, a group of fans has created the online magazine Gizmopolitan, which is one of the many player creative expressions based on the game and which reports to have 35, readers from sixty three countries.
The difficulty of getting a particular piece of clothing is what determines its value, the more the higher the value. There are several stories about how creative you can be even with few means.
The magazine stresses the fact that because the items available are many, a player can be special just by combining wisely:. Figure 2. Fashion as a Channel for Playful Personal Expression If we take the last example above as a starting point, we can see how individual players try to influence the impression that their appearance has on others by donning remarkable clothes.
Jens, our interviewee, also told us how he would dress his bank character poorly so that people would think he was new and they were more experienced than him. He believed this made him get a better price out of his items. As our survey shows and our interview confirms, there are very few WoW players who do not care about what others are wearing.
They mostly notice it in cities, even though it is always present as a way of forming an opinion other players. Some of the outfits are slowly turning into stereotypes, like the tuxedos for the banking. This reflects the movement from exclusivity the new to mainstream the common that happens with real fashion trends and turns items from desirable to disposable. Our interviewees also pointed to a special phenomenon: fashion accessorizing as collector activity.
Apart from being a vehicle for individual expression, fashion also can signal belonging to a specific group, as it happens in real life with urban tribe fashion. There is a certain tension inherent to group fashion, as players adopt it to be special, yet the only way to show this is by looking like everybody else in that particular group so that we can be recognized as such. This points to the very complex meanings negotiated in this expression of game culture.
In WoW, the lasting as opposed to short-termed form of organization for players is called a guild. Many guilds have a tabard which displays the guild emblem and can only be purchased by the members of the guild and that identifies its members. Guides can require it on formal occasions like guild meetings or at all times if very hardcore. Finkelstein is mainly referring to postmodern society and particularly to the large cities of the first world, where individuals are insignificant in size and meaning, as so many live in the WoW is in this way a perfect metaphor for a postmodern metropolis: a huge unchanging world where thousands of individuals run around doing exactly the same quests, with the same strategies, and the same rewards.
The choices of class and race are limited and so are the appearances: all characters of the same race look very alike. Except for the clothes they are wearing. This desire to be different is so strong that it can be exploited. Players push it to the limit, like this player who: [Bought a] tuxedo suit for my old and grey-haired lesbian hunter. I do this because I like characters that are different to everyone else. Warcraft is mostly full of children who care about big breasts and beauty.
I have no interest in that Male, A tuxedo-clad lesbian hunter, a big warrior with a Santa Claus hat, a pirate outfit that matches a rare Hyacinth pet that accompanies the character. We could compare the creative fashion practices of WoW players to the Harajuku Street Fashion phenomenon in Tokyo, where young people mix and match from different styles and cultural references in order to attain a totally original look.
The available items are limited, but it is the recycling of these in unexpected combinations like the gothickawai or the lolita-nurse that makes them unique. It is dressing up, playing costumes in a performance that is equivalent to a cry: look at me! As Bonnie English summarizes it: In highly populated urban Japanese cities, where loss of individual identity becomes inevitable and highly dominant [. Fashion is our way to notice each other in WoW, to express ourselves, and to make sure that we are not lost in the immensity of the unchanging world.
The fact that many players spend time acquiring clothing with no value to the mechanical game-performance and the wildly popular creative parodies of Gizmopolitan point to the fact that to stand out in a world of millions is as important online as it is offline. We are surprised that designers have not explored the fashion production aspects of online gameworlds more consciously and feel convinced that by studying this aspect of the game experience further,. Furthermore, the interest in clothes and fashion is something that has traditionally been considered an exclusive part of the female sphere of interests.
However, our argument and findings here point out to the interest of male players in performing their identities in the same way as females, expanding and confirming the notion hinted at in Fron et. What this suggests is that while costume play on computers may be creating more female-friendly play opportunities, conversely, it may also be opening up more avenues of dress-up for men p. We would very much like to see this in light of Henry Jenkins hope that when feminine features become interesting for both genders, we might be witnessing some progress towards genre-neutral gaming Jenkins, And that, like getting the Silver-Thread Robe at the Auction house, warms our player hearts.
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Abstract In this paper, we explore the experience and performance of gender online in Second Life, currently one of the most popular virtual world platforms. Based on two collaborative autoethnographic projects, we propose that gender has to be explored at the intersection between our own situated perspective and the vision embedded in the social and technical infrastructure of the virtual world. For us, the visual element of a 3D world further frames the representation and performance of gender, while technical skill becomes a crucial factor in constructing our ability to play with this performance.
As we recollect and interrogate our own experiences in SL, we argue that the relation between gender and virtual worlds is a complex and multifaceted one, proposing our positioned account of experiencing this relation. In this we must also be critical, of ourselves, our assumptions, as well as the environment itself. Lester came as a representative of Linden Labs, the company who created and who maintains SL. In his presentation, he demonstrated examples of the potential for education, collaboration, and research and creativity in SL.
They create Alice in Wonderland, sort of oasis of the surreal. Would this world that excited academics and technology advocates alike bring us a new way of thinking about and performing our gender? SL boasts some 13 million created accounts of which over a million logged in the last two months as of April SL Economic Statistics Website. It is imperative that we understand more about how bringing educational projects in such environments may impact us, educators and students alike.
In this paper, we explore this dimension from our own perspectives as women,. We have undertaken a collaborative autoethnographic project in SL, observing how we perceive and perform gender in-world for six months, and then critically investigating these processes. In this paper, we are proposing that our experience of gender in SL lies at the intersection between our situated perspectives, the gendered vision of the sociotechnical platform, and the ubiquity of 3D visualizations.
Preparing to think about Gender in Virtual Worlds Theoretically, we have approached gender in Second Life from a post-structuralist feminist perspective, drawing especially from the work of Donna Haraway, Judith Butler, and Judy Wajcman. Thus, gender is 'achieved, not given' Eller, , p. Judith Butler points out that the signs of gender are performed in response to our acceptance of shared discursive constructions.
We might take them as such which might contribute to their power , but in our understanding they are rather ways of positioning the self within a specific social environment. Furthermore, as Butler also maintains, these shared understandings and conventions of masculinity and femininity, and the binary itself, cannot be separated from sexuality. However, it is perhaps even more important that we recognize how we approach this infrastructure from our own situated perspectives — in our particular cases, as white, middle2.
Though we do not claim it is possible to fully or simultaneously occupy all of these positions Haraway, , a selfreflective awareness of these partial positions is central to our efforts to understand our own processes of observing and performing gender in SL.
We argue that these situated perspectives frame our interpretation of a new to us environment, helping us to make sense of, and act within it.
Feminist scholars have described technology as both liberating from and reinforcing of traditional gender binaries and boundaries. Donna Haraway's metaphor of the cyborg opens up the space of imagining 'alternatives' and of re-thinking agency in terms of gender identity. The cyborg itself is neither human nor machine; and, as the pronouns indicate, 'it' is neither male nor female. The metaphor speaks to the idea of challenging the binary gender designation, of resisting the identity, status and actions ascribed by virtue of being placed under the label of 'woman' or 'man' and thus recovering agency.
Are cyberworlds such cyborg spaces? For example, Sherry Turkle describes a text-based virtual environment where there appears to be scope for escape from the gender binary: users did not have to assign a gender to their online persona Turkle, , p. Since identity was composed textually in these spaces, there were opportunities for gender swapping through textual cues.
In the case of gaming, female characters evolved from being passive battle trophies to be won by male contestants to full contestants themselves. Interestingly, the first female avatars were built using patches designed to modify the appearance of male avatars Schleiner, As virtual spaces have been popularized, they have been both celebrated as an opportunity for liberation from conventional gender roles and crtiticized as.
Instead, Wajcman recommends that we focus on the mutual shaping processes between gender discourses and technology, from design practices to the meaning technologies acquire and their everyday uses.
In the case of SL, this mutual shaping of gender discourses and technology is most visible in the production, customization, and interaction of 3D mobile avatars. For our project, then, we were especially interested in the visual presentation of gender and our interaction with the platform of SL in its construction. How, we wondered, would we see ourselves and others in SL? How powerful would the avatar be for us as a presentation of gender? Collaborative Autoethnography as a Form of Situated Knowledges To address the intersection between the discursive practices around gender in SL, and our own situated perspectives, we have opted for autoethnography as a method which can connect both threads see also Sparkes ; Back, Autoethnography starts from the researcher's own experience, connecting the story of the world that it presents to the wider power networks.
For Denzin and Lincoln , this method is characterized by an explicit political and thus ethical project - that of empowerment, simultaneously a critical perspective and an action. Autoethnography's controversial position is interesting considering that its close relative — ethnography — has been a widely used method in social sciences.
Johnson, Virtual ethnographies of identity and gender constructions in online worlds Turkle, ; McLelland, ; Schaap, ; Thomas, have looked at a variety of textbased and 3D virtual worlds Danet, ; McLelland, ; Schaap, ; Isabella, The main difference in the case of autoethnography is that the researcher does not enter and study people in a new milieu from the outside — the researcher is the insider.
The object of study is the experience of the researcher, which is subsequently analyzed in terms of its connection to the wider sociopolitical context. With autoethnography, researchers focus on their own experiences, feelings and circumstances. Taking oneself as the basis of knowledge means recuperating the realm of subjective experience, including rationalizations, embodied feelings and instinctive reactions as part of our making sense of the world.
By being explicitly political and partial, autoethnography sheds light onto the interaction between subjective understandings and wider contexts.
It also challenges the idea of a totalizing form of knowledge, recuperating the individual experience as both of locus of power relations and a valid sense-making process. As we will explain further, these positions become intertwined in complex ways during our time in SL.
Through our colaborative autoethnographic project we tried to recuperate these positions and critically reflect on their implications. Thus, we asked ourselves to what extent our personal contexts became significant in the way in which we experienced the world, providing us psychological comfort in tense situations and shaping our own perspectives Collinson, Collaborative work allowed us to acknowledge the ambiguity, ambivalence and multifaceted dimension of lived experience.
In dialogue throughout the research process so, during our explorations of SL and our analysis afterwards we found that we challenged and provoked each other to recognize the context s and significance of our observations and feelings. This prompted us to interrogate our individual interpretations while at the same time facilitating the emergence of our shared interpretations.
This collaborative reflexivity, we argue, is extremely valuable. In examining virtual worlds, we never come to the stage as blank pages.
We carry with us not only our positions, but also our interactions and our close environment. Through our autoethnographic collaboration, we were able to bring those to the forefront of the research process itself. In the analysis, we present a. Our experience of other SL users remained mediated by our research interest and by our experience of gender discussed in this paper. Autoethnography — and in particular collaborative projects — have a lot to offer to understanding online environments in general, and gender online in particular.
Such a method is more faithful to the hypertextual construction of the internet, allowing the researcher to reflect on her own path in relation to other available paths by following her own interests; it also allows her to move in a manner that is neither uniform nor linear, and thus fits better with the linked nature of online spaces.
After each of us created their own avatar, we started our individual journeys, keeping a field journal. A month later, we met in SL and started visiting places mostly popular places listed in the SL place search function, but also some educational places and doing things together. Although both of us rely heavily on ICTs in our professional and personal lives, this heavy use does not necessarily equate great technical knowhow.
Indeed, our first encounters with technology in SL were fraught with hiccups as at first our laptops failed to run SL for various reasons insufficiently powerful graphic cards, firewalls , delaying our entry into the world. Joining SL was a learning experience: now, as we revisit our journals, we notice how, over the research period, we both moved from initial feelings of frustration and despair to, once familiar with the environment, taking for granted our existence in the virtual world.
In an effort to make sense of the complex way in which gender and technology become interlinked in SL, we have closely re-read our experiences as we recorded them in our diaries.
From this re-reading, and the discussions that followed, we propose three dimensions of gender performance dynamics. The first of these is to think about how our own gendered vision s helped shape our expectations, behaviours, and ultimately responses to SL.
Next we consider how the SL platform creates a framework which suggests or at least facilitates particular gendered behaviour for users. An inescapable gendered perspective? As much as we wanted to push the boundaries of the traditional gender binary in SL, it soon became obvious that this was not really possible for us.
Part of the reason for this had to do with the platform of the world itself further discussed in the next section , the other part of the story was our own positioning as women and our own internalization of patriarchal systems6 which we, as women, were familiar with. In the comfort zones of our daily lives, we might not 6. Arguably, the two researchers grew up in different geographical contexts.
Patriarchal systems might not necessarily be identical, but they share the same macro systemic distribution of power see Relke, , for a discussion of patriarchy on the contemporary feminist research agenda. We are openly critical of patriarchal systems. This world is unknown to me as a woman, I suddenly feel afraid and vulnerable. She avoided other avatars, moving away if they approached, preferring to explore alone.
Delia opted for another strategy of coping with her own fears of being in an unknown situation: she gender-swapped her avatar. But, as she came to realize during her journeys, the experimentation in question was not about indulging in a ludic pleasure Jimroglu, or identity tourism Nakamura, She too opted for a male avatar out of fear: the fear of being woman in a world where she didn't know what that would entail, but where her real life experiences suggested the particular possibility of being rendered a sexualized object.
Our circumstances, as well as our situated perspectives on gender framed our process of becoming familiar with this world that was new for us. A certain recognition that the online gaming space was traditionally male-dominated, and an awareness of past experiences of women being targets of hate-speech and flaming in such environments see for example Kendall, accompanied our first steps into SL. Furthermore, both of us were in committed relationships at the time of the research, and felt that we didn't want to invite any flirtatious behaviour.
In SL, we brought with us fears that women are and will always be targets of harassment in places that lack formal and protected gender equality policies. Being in an unknown setting — and particularly a gendered and sexualized setting, as we will explain further — heightened our feelings of fear and vulnerability. This interpretation, we feel, is informed by experiences of being objectified and sexualized according to, and lifetimes of adherence to, the conventions of heterosexual gender identity.
Later, in one of the face-to-face discussions which peppered our in-world adventures, we pondered our feelings: why did we assume that we would be inviting sexual attention? Why this fear of being treated like an object especially when our avatar was female? Thinking about the role of our situated perspectives and the weight of the norms and conventions we adhere to as well as those we like to think that we challenge in shaping our interpretation of SL, and our responses to the environment, has been vital.
In an act of revolt — which could equally be construed as an act of self-protection — Georgia changed her avatar's looks, filling out her waist, reducing her breasts, and trying to make her as androgynous as possible. I felt like such a loser. In a virtual world! This seemed to be an interpretation which spanned contexts - from a beach party scenario to a scholarly discussion group. Living as women, we discipline our bodies through culturally contingent diets, cosmetics, clothing and accessories as discussed in Bartky, , p.
In SL we found ourselves not only interpreting but also evaluating our own SL bodies, and those of others, through the same norms. As we became used to the world, our critical interest in gender issues gradually diminished. We no longer paid attention to the naked bodies everywhere; we stopped noticing the enhanced breasts or pectorals.
The world became naturalized, and our fear diminished. We had learned where to go, how to interact with the environment, and what to expect in most situations. Yet, as we will further argue, it would be simplistic to claim that our internal worldviews were the only mechanism at work in this meaning-making process.
The world itself had something of its own to tell us. In the following sections we will discuss two aspects of this: the choices and options made available to us as participants especially new participants in SL, and the power of the visual interface in terms of constructing gender in this environment.
An inescapable gendered platform? Lisbet Van Zoonen maintains that gender is an unavoidable, though often invisible issue online p. Yet, as we will try to show in this section, gender was not at all invisible for us in SL.
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