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Expressing Territoriality in Collaborative Activity

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Association for Computing Machinery


Territoriality, the expression of ownership towards an object, can emerge when social actors occupy a shared social space. In my research, I extend the study of territoriality beyond previous work in physical space in two key ways: 1) the object in question is virtual and 2) the social context is an online community engaged in collaborative activity. To do this, I observe the emergence of characteristic territorial behaviors (e.g. marking, control, defense) within collaborative authoring and social tagging. My dissertation then uses these observations to construct a theoretical framework for online territoriality to provide researchers and designers of groupware with guidelines with which to encourage ownership expression when appropriate.


Thom-Santelli, Jennifer (2009): Expressing Territoriality in Collaborative Activity. Proceedings of the 2009 ACM International Conference on Supporting Group Work. DOI: 10.1145/1531674.1531738. New York, NY, USA: Association for Computing Machinery. pp. 389–390. Sanibel Island, Florida, USA