The Real of the Virtual: Critical Reflections on Web 2.0

  • Christos Boikos
  • Konstantinos Moutsoulas
  • Charalambos Tsekeris Athens Panteion University
Keywords: Social Media, Critical Theory, Digital Labour, Social Dynamics, Virtual Communities, Web 2.0, Arab Spring, Internet Studies


Social media, as the heart of Web 2.0, is a relatively novel theoretical notion and social phenomenon, pertaining to a long series of academic subjects, such as digital culture, virtual communication, e-democracy, technological convergence, and online interactivity. Arguably, one of the most useful tools to adequately interpret and analyze this phenomenon is Critical Theory. The present article aims to comprehensively discuss and reflexively elaborate on the complex interrelationship between Critical Theory and Web 2.0 developments. This mainly involves the historicization of the relevant concepts and the identification of crucial sociological, philosophical and interdisciplinary issues that strongly demonstrate the essential ontological complicity between the real and the virtual. In addition, the analytical emphasis on recent social movements, such as the Arab Spring, reflexively depicts the new media as critical media, a characteristic feature that somehow stands in contrast to the participation of the internet in the circulation and accumulation of the Capital. Through contemporary Web’s inherent paradoxes, it is eventually shown that the social potential of the new media can indeed be realised, so that the internet serves the people and the public good.

Author Biography

Charalambos Tsekeris, Athens Panteion University

Charalambos Tsekeris graduated with Distinction from the Department of Human Sciences at Brunel University (West London, UK) and earned his doctoral degree in Reflexivity from the Department of Sociology at Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences (Athens, Greece). He is Visitor at the Hellenic Naval Staff and Command College and Senior Researcher at the Laboratory of Virtual Reality, Internet Research & E-Learning (Department of Psychology, Panteion University). He has been Associate Lecturer at Anglia Ruskin University, University of Wales, University of Gloucestershire, and University of East London. He has also taught at the University of Piraeus and the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, and given numerous invited lectures and papers in scientific meetings and conferences. His current academic and research interests involve relational approaches in the social science, reflexivity and the self, methodology and metatheory, social epistemology and psychosocial studies, theoretical and philosophical psychology, chaos theory and the social dynamics of Web 2.0, virtual communities, human complex systems and social networks. He is the co-editor of the book The Social Dynamics of Web 2.0 (Routledge 2014).

Reflections (Non Peer-Reviewed)