Enacting language games: The development of a sense of 'we-ness' in online forums

Anne Laure Fayard, Gerardine DeSanctis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A sense of 'we-ness'- enacted through collective identity and culture - is both crucial in online, remote contexts, and particularly difficult to develop in such settings. Using Wittgenstein's concept of language games, we examine how participants of two online forums construct collective identity and culture through their discursive practices. We suggest a strong performative interpretation of the notion of language games, i.e. members of a community produce a sense of we-ness through their participation in the language game while also defining their expected behaviours and actions. We illustrate how the notion of language games offers an approach for researching and analysing the emergence of collective identity and culture in online forums.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)383-416
Number of pages34
JournalInformation Systems Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2010


  • Collective identity
  • Culture
  • Discourse analysis
  • Discursive practices
  • Interpretative research
  • Language game
  • Online forums

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Information Systems
  • Computer Networks and Communications

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