Online Networks and Emotional Energy: How Pro-Anorexic Websites Use Interaction Ritual Chains to (Re) Form Identity

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

There has been a great deal of social theory written about how groups form and affect members in the offline world, but less research about how online groups can affect the behaviors and identity of the individuals who choose to participate in them. Pro-anorexia, or pro-ana, websites have been shown to have an effect on those individuals who participate in and/or view them by previous research, but previous research is inconsistent or lacking concerning the reason(s) for that effect. This study analyzes qualitative data gathered from 22 pro-ana websites over 18 months, and suggests how Collins' theory of interaction ritual chains can be extended to understand how those who participate in those websites generate emotional energy to aid them in identifying with being pro-anorexic and continue with this identity. This theory states that four initiating conditions (the ability to assemble, common linguistic and behavioral norms, and a shared focus of attention) create a boundary to outsid
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-124
JournalJournal of Information, Communication, and Society
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 24 2012

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