Learning about Power and Citizenship in an Online Virtual World


  • Teresa González-Ramírez Universidad de Sevilla
  • Teresa Buckingham
  • Antonio de Padua Palacios-Rodríguez Universidad de Sevilla
  • Carlos Rodríguez


Virtual communities, youth culture, digital society, participation, democratization, media contents, virtual worlds


This work presents a research study designed to analyse the development of power relations in a virtual world, known as Habbo Hotel, aimed at the child and teenage market. What motivated this work was the desire to under­stand how this company wielded its power through the different agents responsible for taking decisions on the behaviour of the users within this virtual world. Simultaneously, this research went deeply into the type of lessons learnt by users as to citizenship springing from the behaviour rules imposed by the company owning this space. In order to understand what young people were learning about the wielding of power, and the prototype model citizen within the virtual world, we analyse the systems of rules that govern what users can or cannot do, and we proceed to analyse the contents of spaces in which users will talk about the reasons why the company had expelled them from Habbo Hotel. The findings of this work reveal that the application of rules on the part of the company results in the experience inside this virtual world not always being fun, democratic, creative, participative or completely satisfying. This thus questions some of the main arguments proposed by different writers on these new forms of communication..



How to Cite

González-Ramírez, T., Buckingham, T., Palacios-Rodríguez, A. de P., & Rodríguez, C. (2013). Learning about Power and Citizenship in an Online Virtual World. Comunicar, 20(40), 49–58. Retrieved from https://www.revistacomunicar.com/ojs/index.php/comunicar/article/view/C40-2013-07



Dossier (Monographic)