The inter-Asian contexts signaled in the title of this special issue serve a precise limiting role in relation to the issue’s topic (humans and networks) that is neither arbitrary nor determined by the more common constraints of an area studies approach to the questions it poses. The chief concern is with kinds of community, a developing, maybe even decaying concept in these contexts, where online mediation plays a constitutive part in their development. The originality of the collection lies in its various attempts to understand in a broadly ethnographical way how such communities emerge, what kinds of rules or cultures underlie their emergence, and what kinds of rules and cultures are brought into existence by it.

To begin with, the theme of novelty serves as a principle of coherence across otherwise diverse articles, in the sense of both how we...

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