Volume 10, Issue 3, September/December 2021
Stephen Nkansah Morgan
, Beatrice Okyere-Manu
African Ethics and Online Communities
An Argument for a Virtual Communitarianism
A virtual community is generally described as a group of people with shared interests, ideas, and goals in a particular digital group or virtual platform. Virtual communities have become ubiquitous in recent times, and almost everyone belongs to one or multiple virtual communities. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, with its associated national lockdowns, has made virtual communities more essential and a necessary part of our daily lives, whether for work and business, educational purposes or keeping in touch with friends and family. Given these facts, how do we ensure that virtual communities become a true community qua community? We address this question by proposing and arguing for a ‘virtual communitarianism’—an online community that integrates essential features of traditional African communitarianism in its outlook and practice. The paper’s position is that virtual communitarianism can make for a strong ethical virtual community where members can demonstrate a strong sense of group solidarity, care and compassion towards each other. The inclusion of these virtues can bring members who often are farapart and help create a stronger community bond. This will ensure that the evolution of virtual communities does not happen without the integration of progressive African communitarian values.