Producing Im/Possible Subject/Ivities At The Intersection Of The Virtual And The Real

by Altman, Melissa A

Abstract (Summary)
This thesis considers the production of subjectivity at the intersection of technologically mediated and non-technologically mediated environments. The research questions explored here include: First, how do students negotiate non-normative identities in the classroom space? How is this negotiation impacted by the subjectivity production in the MOOspace? Second, who is empowered to speak/exist on the MOO and who is not? This question considers questions of access, including hardware, facility, comfort level, previous experience as well as questions of power? Who is empowered to speak and who is silenced? Lastly, how does dwelling on the MOO impact the performance of "real life" identity in the classroom? I develop a theoretical framework for examining the process of producing subjectivity at the intersection of virtualspace and realspace. I address Butler’s notion that subjectivity is enacted or performed. In addition, I use Bourdieu’s notion of habitus to look at the context of sedimented history that frames future actions or performances of identity. Because the object of study here is specifically the process of subjectivity production, I engage a methodology that considers meaning-making process from the point of view of the participant/subject. Methods used include textual analysis, participant observation, autoethnography, performative writing. I offer a performative writing text employing a narratized account of MOO transcripts (from engaging MOO technology), journal entries, and discussion board posts in order to reconstruct the meaning-making process found at the intersection with technology. I came to this research negotiating im/possible subject/ivities. The MOO serves as a metaphor, for me, of how production of the self always happens in relation to a structuring context, a set of rules and requirements and habits that are always in force, regardless of whether we can see and understand them. The process of producing subjectivity is negotiation, from various positions of power and knowledge, but always negotiation with the discourse, the structuring language and habitus that forms the context of production.
Bibliographical Information:


School:Bowling Green State University

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:subjectivity virtual production habitus technology


Date of Publication:01/01/2005

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