'Far isn't Far': Shetland on the internet

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This paper examines various websites based in the Shetland Islands, on Britain’s northern periphery. These sites focus on local life and culture and, by enabling interactive contribution, provide an extension of the social networks existing in the physical locations of the Islands. So rather than emphasising the separation of the virtual and physical realms, they enable a hybrid space, in which interactions within the virtual space enhance and accentuate the appreciation of physical locations within Shetland, and the social relationships based there. Therefore they focus users’ attention on the Islands as a specific and distinctive community. However, they are also embedded within the wider virtual landscape of the internet. Thus, through the use of these sites, perceptions of the local and peripheral continually oscillate with ideas of the globally connected. They enable users to perceive Shetland as a place that exists at many points on an axis of peripherality and connectedness. Ultimately, they enable a continuation, but also complication of an historical process, in which communal narratives of cultural identity and collective memory have been continually informed and reformed by the dialogue between Shetland communities and the wider world through the structures of mass communication.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-282
JournalVisual Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2013

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