[Guilds are the new Clubs!]
We have to live and work under circumstances our predecessors would have called 'unstable'. The economy of the neoliberal and globalised market is demanding a high grade of flexibility from the citizens of modern and western countries. The desire for big profit margins has led to a defragmented production process: component A is produced in Afghanistan, component B in Belarus, and C comes from China or India or Bangladesh or Mexico. As well as this processes aren't no unified any more, our very social environments are neither. It comes from when you move three times in ten years after your job, and everytime you move you leave behind what you can call the mutilated remains of social relations. Naturally the relationships you've made ain't got the deepness of long time grown one's. In fact, how could they? And is there even the will to build up branches of new ones once you've arrived for another time in another town for another job that demands your flexibility? Accepting an honorary appointment doesn't make much sense anymore because if you depend on something you can't control (the geographical conditions under which you have to earn your living), you don't let things grow you can't leave behind.
This is one aspect of the work of Richard Sennetts. He is a sociologist who is deeply interested in how new forms of capitalism and the behaviour in economical interests change the people, their understanding of work and of themselves. My point here is: if the living conditions of people are geographically inconstant because they have to follow their jobs/their profession, and they don't see sense in engaging in long-term social relationships outside family boundaries, where do they search for alternate satisfaction? In times where superficial social contacts do not depend on "where you're at" but "if you're in", one should ask if internet communtites and the engagement into can become (or do they have already?) an alternative for many unresting employees? One could ask the frequency of relocations and even the ones depending on the job situation (if differentiable), the number of people in different societiey e.g. sport clubs, church unions and any kind of political and social unions. Then one have to see if there is some data about people who are active members in guilds or clans in virtual world. How is their income? How often do they move? If there is some data, I will find it in the mysteriuos museum of mmorpg data of Nick Yee!