Post print of Coco, A 2008, ‘Pagans online and offline: locating community in post-modern times’, Sociological Spectrum vol. 28, no. 5, pp. 510-530.
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This article examines the ways Australian Pagans use e-mail discussion lists as a means of fostering community among dispersed offline practitioners. Sociologists struggle with ways of characterizing the Pagan movement. It appears to lack the necessary set of uniform beliefs and organizational features that reference community relations in other religions. However, new information and communication technologies (ICTs) accompanying globalization are changing the forms of human association and have stimulated speculation regarding the extent to which they foster community. Existing conceptualizations of community suffer from the historical emergence of the “virtual”/“real” distinction and are inadequate to characterizing sociability in the networked society. Wenger's theory of a “community of practice” (1998) is suggested as a way through this dilemma. The “community of practice” model is used to examine how Pagans integrate online and offline communications. Pagan social practices illustrate the ways in which individuals negotiate personal meanings and a sense of community in postmodern times.