Computer Culture Reader: Abstract
I’ve been invited to submit a chapter for the book Computer Culture Reader, to be published by Cambridge Scholars Press in 2007. Here’s an exerpt from the submitted abstract, based upon one population from my MSc research.
TITLE: ONLINE ROLES, OFFLINE SELVES: IMPLICATIONS OF INTERNET CULTURE ON WOMEN’S OFFLINE IDENTITY DEVELOPMENT
Markus and Nurius (1986) define the self-concept as a complex and dynamic work-in-progress perpetually modified through the adoption and rejection of desired and undesired identities. The potential plurality of identity in online spaces should encourage users to enact an unlimited number of possible selves, yet the salient cultural constrictions which participants bring to virtual worlds affect those which they have at their disposal.
Arguably, the limitations of online experience have implications for the range of offline possible selves which users choose adopt or reject offline. Rather than being a space of freedom and self-expression, the culture of the internet may circumvent potential offline identity growth. This research aimed to unpick the offline cultural contributions to the online possible selves enacted by female residents of virtual communities, and what effects online culture is perceived to have in their offline lives.