IdentityandHomepages

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Charles Cheung.Identity Construction and Self-Presentation on Personal Homepages: Emancipatory Potentials and Reality Constraints. The Cybercultures Reader (2nd ed.).Routledge, 2007 .

personal homepages posted on the web -websites of individuals , couples or families that post any info about themselves -use of web pages to tell personal stories (disabilities, kungfu maniacs, hobbies) -some seem to be created to display the strong personality and identity of the authors -some seem to be made more on self exploration than to display identity (online diaries..)

-many tell you little info about the author -many are listed in directories but not available criticism . web pages content reflect narcissism and exhibitionism of the users +content trivialisation in internet personal web page as a significant social phenomenon: 2 arguments

-personal webpages is an emancipatory media genre (+Galloway). users as active cultural producers expressing their suppressed identities or exploring “who i am” -- the emancipatory potentials of personal homepages are limited and often fully exploited people tell stories by making personal webpages but not in conditions of their own choosing.

this is me: the first emancipatory use of the personal home pages is strategic and elaborate self representation Goffman present identities in inappropriate social contexts

core problems in self representation in everyday life: -what selves we should present in a particular social setting --how well can we present it

The personal homepage can emancipate us from these 2.

-allows more strategic self representation than everyday interaction, potential audience worldwide, negative feedback-reactions less pressure, it can be ignored --since it allows individuals to have more control on impression management. The sign vehicle of Goffman are more subject to manipulation. [manipulate before , publish after]

p.h. promotes professional achievements in ways not possible in everyday life. and is valuable for those with bad face to face presentation skills and emancipatory for those whose identities are misunderstood or stigmatised, since they can reveal their identities. Mass media don't allow individuals to present themselves in their own terms. Ordinary people are presented in stereotypical ways. (Hooks, Silence to speech, 1989;9)

who am i: emancipatory not because of self presentation, because is a space for identity construction (for many people the sense of who i am is not obvious)


identity construction and exploration for those who the sense of who i am is not so obvious --- uncertain identity 3 examples

1. multiple and contradictory identities: traditional society= narrow range of ascribed identites latermodern society= range of choices over social and cultural identities (gender, politics concerns, occupation, family status, interests, sexuality, leisure etc) Giddends says that these choices are not marginal but substantial, since they allow us to define who we want to be but he also emphasizes that taking chare of ones life involes risk because it means con'frontig a diversity of open possibilities', unfortunate consequence-identity confusion.

2.disrupted lives: rapid changes, the sense of stable identity and our life is promed to disruption (if a CEO loses his job and cannot find work for many years doubts about his identity as a member of the middle class elite, also moving in a new country, a divorce, etc, victims of illness could also feel uncertain about their identitys and their ability to function as normal people

3.Stigmatized identities: we may doubt about certain identities of ours if they are controversial, stigmatized or not acceptable in society

how do people with uncertain identities re establish their sense of self identity? Giddens= late modern society, we construct our sense of identity be creating a coherent self narrative where we successfully make ourselves the protagonists of the story, and we clearly know who we are, how we became the way we are now and what we would like to do in the future However new things and experiences can disrupt the coherence of our self narratives and cause a confused sense to the self. To reestablish our stable sense of identity, we have to reflixevelyreappraise our disrupted self narrative until in a sense its coherence is restored. Giddens, the reflexive project of the self (simplfelifeisgood identity for CEO, possibility)