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In that sense, it is a relational, participative practice that is essential to exist as someone, rather than as no one.


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It was also held that the relation of identity and technology has been extensively theorized for a long time. Technological influences, together with societal aspects — not only economies, social structures, but also ways of thinking and how humans think about identity — are involved Bauman, ; Castells, ; Foucault, ; van Dijk, ; McLuhan, ; McQuail, ; Turkle, , Turkle said, with reference to computers, that technology affects human relationships, including what humans do and how they think about themselves.

As briefly discussed in this article, the emergence of dramaturgical technologies and social practices of theatres seem to be paralleled with definitions of identity that draw on dramaturgical accessories such as masks, actors, theatre stages and audiences. Moreover, concepts such as the looking glass self, the mirror stage and self-objectification were most likely inspired by actual mirrors.

Correspondingly, Bauman suggested that in modern times, concrete, steel and photographic paper paralleled notions of solid, durable identities, while in post-modern times, technologies such as biodegradable plastics and erasable, reusable videotapes and other media added to notions of identity as something impermanent. More recent examples that allude to contemporary technologies are theories of online personas, networked Selves, Facebook identities and open source identities.

So, thinking about identity in relation to technology involves what has been and what is. Relations of identity and technology could be considered, as Hall and Du Gay suggested with reference to identity, as something that is placed between reversal and emergence. Identity draws on consistency and, simultaneously, thoughts of identity may evolve in relation to emerging societal and technological conditions. Similarly, crowdsourcing identities, as one way of thinking about human identity making today, combine both consistency and emergence. Through this interpretive lens, theories of identity with a long history converge with crowdsourcing, as well as contemporary digital technologies.

These technologies propose both durability and non-fixation, but also user-generated multimodal interactions with global crowds of Others, where it is possible to convey identities, gather information and practice the making of identities.

Handbook of Self and Identity, Second Edition / Edition 2

However, if they are interpreted through the lens of crowdsourcing identity, Mary and Steve are engaged in existential matters. They take advantage of contemporary digital technologies to exist as someone, rather than as no one. They publish self-portraits with requests for feedback in online and public contexts. They convey identities and gather information about identity while communicating with potentially large crowds of Others; furthermore, they engage in instant aggregations of continuous requests and answers about being, becoming and belonging.

Continuing to think about Mary and Steve through the lens of crowdsourcing identities, their posts reify and mediate a duality of the Self and the Other on a potentially worldwide scale.

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Mary and Steve interact with a technologically mediated Gaze, present and imagined, from global crowds of Others. This can involve seeing the Other, seeing the Self, being seen by Others and, also, seeing the Self through the Gaze of Others. Additionally, this technologically mediated Gaze may reflect recognition, mis-recognition or the absence of recognition.


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The making of identity could certainly happen in other conditions and concern further dimensions of identity besides those narrated in the vignette. Technologies are not necessarily essential to identity as theorized in this article. Mary and Steve would most likely continue to engage in existential matters to exist as someone, rather than as no one, without technology.

However, if they choose to make identities in conditions mediated by contemporary digital technologies, then I argue that one way to think about it is through the interpretive lens of crowdsourcing identities, which draws on existentialism, social constructivism, technology and ideas of crowdsourcing.

It is one way for thinking about digital technology, such as social media, as not only mediating conditions where identities can be represented and conveyed, but also as mediating conditions in which identities can be made. The next step is to systematically investigate whether the interpretive lens of crowdsourcing identities has deeper empirical resonance, beyond the narratives of Mary and Steve, in larger structures of social interactions about being, becoming and belonging in conditions mediated by contemporary digital technologies.

Kim is in bed in Tokyo and Joe is on the school bus in Manchester. They skim through their social media and come across the posts from Mary and Steve. She also works as an artist. Her internationally acknowledged artwork, which is published at www. Both her academic research and artwork combine in the aim of deepen understandings of the human condition.

E-mail: Camilla [dot] Hallgren [at] umu [dot] se. Mary and Steve can also be said to publish images where the subject of the photograph and the photographer are the same person. In that sense, their practice exemplifies self-portrayals. A more detailed account of predigital self-portraits created by early photographers is offered by Rettberg So, what they are doing relates to an old practice that often was, and still can be, performed by whatever suitable technologies available, such as drawings, paintings, photographs, sculptures and, today; also performed by digital technologies particular to our time.

Those theatre masks are described as inspiring the idea of a two-sided human Self. Furthermore, the masks and their functionalities, together with notions of role-playing actors, appear in reflective writings from ancient Greece. Throughout history, the theatre mask has been reused to conceptualize identity, the Self and their functions. The theatre mask is also used to theorize wider social phenomena and how humans relate to each other — and to whole societies. Hegel, , p. See Marshall and Barbour for an extensive historical and etymological reading of the persona concept.

Additional examples of ideas of being in the world with Others, but from different historical and intellectual contexts, can be found, for instance, in the work of Donne, Erasmus and Shakespeare. And, with dramaturgical accessories, being in the world with others is portrayed as a theatre that humans enter and exit to play many different roles until the play is done.

Handbook of Self and Identity, Second Edition

Cooley, , p. Early examples of ideas of evaluative Others are found, for instance, in the work of Mandeville Humans perform in ways that are thought to be appreciated and approved by Others, and in the words of Mandeville, the thought of applause from Others inspires Self-love. Gendered power aspects of the experience of the Gaze are further theorized by Mulvey as the Male Gaze.

In her theory, the Male Gaze is at work when women are depicted from a masculine point of view, for example, in visual arts, such as film. As a consequence, audiences of these visuals, no matter what gender they are, will experience the visuals through a male Gaze, from a masculine position. Digital technologies advanced some 60 years ago in the mids when analogue information could be converted into digital bits.

Today, digitalised networks for information exchange and social organisation, together with interactive media, have evolved as key technologies in many societies van Dijk, ; Castells, Among those approximately three billion people who have Internet access, networked technologies have increasingly become routine so that extended possibilities to collaborate, share information and socialize have become part of ordinary, everyday activities Lievrouw and Livingstone, ; Papacharissi, ; Siibak, The term selfie was identified among the top 10 buzzwords in Steinmetz, and defined by Adewunmi as a cultural symbol of our time.

It is a form of self-portrait that is widely published online. For instance, a September search in one of the largest online image-sharing communities, Instagram, shows that the selfie hashtag retrieves million posts. Selfies are, however, more than widely published self-portraits.

There are ongoing, extensive, international and interdisciplinary research about the selfie phenomenon where the selfie is explored with nuanced, scientific attention and, for instance, identified as something more than acts of vanity.

Nguyen and Barbour, , in the Conclusion and on pp. It is a shift with social significance Downes, ; Ellison and boyd, and that shift has popularly been labelled as the shift from Web 1. Bim Adewunmi, Brian Alexander, Paul Anderson, Zygmunt Bauman, Identity: Conversations with Benedetto Vecchi. Cambridge: Polity Press. Questions of cultural identity.

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London: Sage, pp. Simone de Beauvoir, The second sex. New York: Vintage. Peter L.

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Berger and Tomas Luckmann, The social construction of reality: A treatise in the sociology of knowledge. Hammondsworth: Penguin. Daren C. Brabham, David Buckingham, Youth, identity, and digital media.

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Cambridge, Mass. Ian Burkitt, Schwartz, Koen Luyckx and Vivian L. Vignoles editors. Handbook of identity theory and research. New York: Springer, pp. Judith Butler, Gender trouble: Feminism and the subversion of identity. New York: Routledge. Charles Horton Cooley, Human nature and the social order. New York: C. Kimberle Crenshaw, Kurt Danziger, Ashmore and Lee Jussim editors. Self and identity: Fundamental issues. New York: Oxford University Press, pp. Paulina De los Reyes and Dana Mulinari, John Donne, Devotions upon emergent occasions.

Depression and Identity: Are Self-Constructions Negative or Conflictual?

Edited by John Sparrow. Cambridge: University Press. Stephen Downes, Burghardt Du Bois, The souls of black folk: Essays and sketches. Chicago: A. Emile Durkheim, On morality and society: Selected writings. Edited and with an introduction by Robert N. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.