Module 1: Information Communities and the Social Construction of Knowledge

Module One: Information Communities and the Social Construction of Knowledge

Community is defined in early works by Park as rooted in a certain geographic location, a common bond and mutual interdependence. Peter Block offers a recent definition in Community: The Structure of Belonging: “Communities are human systems given form by conversations that build relatedness” that emphasizes conversations.  These conversations can play out in physical space and virtually. Rheingold’s The Virtual Community, defines the Internet as an interconnected computer network utilizing Computer-mediated Communication (CMC) to link people all over the globe in open discussions. He defines ‘virtual community’ as “social aggregators that emerge from the Net when enough people carry on those public discussions long enough, with sufficient human feeling, to form webs of personal relationships in cyberspace” (Rheingold, p. 5). This module explores the nature of information, definitions of community, and how communities form around information and knowledge sharing/creation.

Things to Read:

Note: Some of the articles you will be reading this term were published years ago, (sometimes decades ago!) but because they are foundational pieces, and because this is a foundational class, we are assigning them so that you know the important articles in our field to which many more recent articles will refer. 

Things to Explore:

Things to Do:

Be thinking about the information community you will choose to explore for this class. Use this list for inspiration and this Assignment Helper to focus your thinking.


Block, P. (2008). Community: The structure of belonging. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

Park, R. (1936). Human ecology. American Journal of Sociology, 17(1), 1-15.

Rheingold, H. (1993). The Virtual Community: Homesteading on the Electronic Frontier. New York, NY: HarperPerennial.