in cyberspace (and meet his criteria for community). The characteristicsthat the communitarians assert as being required for a community areshared interests, shared values, caring and nurturing, discourse, and amoral voice. We will first examine these characteristics and then see ifthese characteristics do, as Rheingold suggests, exist in cyberspace.
The characteristic of shared interests.
Webster defines community as "a body of individuals organized into aunit or manifesting usually with some awareness some unifying trait," andwe often speak of the legal or medical communities-communities defined byoccupation; indeed, work-based communities have become part of ournational vocabulary. Although less frequently encountered, we sometimeshear of a community of luthiers (stringed-instrument makers), modelairplane enthusiasts, or motorcyclists; reference to ethnic communitiesabound, as well as to communities of minority or protected groups.Is physical proximity critical to this interest-based paradigm ofcommunity? Not according to Etzioni: "there is room for nongeographiccommunities that criss-cross the others, such as professional orwork-based communities" (Etzioni 32). He goes on to explain that, "theyfulfill many of the social and moral functions of traditional communities. . . " and workers ". . . often develop work-related friendships andcommunity webs. . . . As they learn to know and care for one another,they also form and reinforce moral expectations" (Etzioni 121). Even incases where community is defined by ethnicity, geographic proximity is notrequired. As Etzioni states,In some instances members of one ethnic group live comfortably next to one another, as in NewYork City's Chinatown and Miami's Little Havana. In other cities ethnic groups are moregeographically dispersed but sustain ethnic-community bonds around such institutions aschurches and synagogue, social clubs, and private schools. (Etzioni 120)