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Identity Technologies

Constructing the Self Online

Edited by Anna Poletti and Julie Rak

Publication Year: 2014

Identity Technologies is a substantial contribution to the fields of autobiography studies, digital studies, and new media studies, exploring the many new modes of self-expression and self-fashioning that have arisen in conjunction with Web 2.0, social networking, and the increasing saturation of wireless communication devices in everyday life.
            This volume explores the various ways that individuals construct their identities on the Internet and offers historical perspectives on ways that technologies intersect with identity creation. Bringing together scholarship about the construction of the self by new and established authors from the fields of digital media and auto/biography studies, Identity Technologies presents new case studies and fresh theoretical questions emphasizing the methodological challenges inherent in scholarly attempts to account for and analyze the rise of identity technologies. The collection also includes an interview with Lauren Berlant on her use of blogs as research and writing tools.

Published by: University of Wisconsin Press

Series: Wisconsin Studies in Autobiography


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pp. C-C

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-iv


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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-2

We absolutely must thank Bill Andrews, who invited us to begin this project, supported us through it, and encouraged us to think big. We also thank Raphael Kadushin, Matthew Cosby, and the rest of the team at the University of Wisconsin Press for their stewardship of the project over many years. Thanks...

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Introduction: Digital Dialogues

Anna Poletti and Julie Rak

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pp. 3-22

This collection is an experiment in interdisciplinary dialogue. As scholars of autobiography, we are intensely interested in the rise of autobiographical discourse in contemporary culture. Nowhere is the power and diversity of the autobiographical more visible than online, where it is the raison d’être for many of...


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Beyond Anonymity, or Future Directions for Internet Identity Research

Helen Kennedy

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pp. 25-41

In his overview of the short history of the field that he defines as cyberculture studies (which has many overlaps with new media studies), David Silver (2000) suggests that the area has moved through three key phases. The first phase he defines as “popular cyberculture,” consisting of descriptive journalism, often in...

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Lisa Nakamura

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pp. 42-54

Remember cyber? Surely one of the most irritating and ubiquitous prefixes of the 1990s, the word “cyber” quickly became attached to all kinds of products (the Sony Cybershot camera), labor styles (cybercommuting), and communicative practices (cyberspace), which have now become so normalized as already...

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Becoming and Belonging: Performativity, Subjectivity, and the Cultural Purposes of Social Networking

Rob Cover

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pp. 55-69

A problem with the ways that social networking sites have been investigated and discussed by researchers, journalists, and public commentators is that much of the time, just one out of a broad range of purposes, uses, tools, functions, or gratifications of social networking is articulated as the primary purpose of sites...

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Virtually Me: A Toolbox about Online Self-Presentation

Sidonie Smith and Julia Watson

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pp. 70-96

Opportunities for composing, assembling, and networking lives have expanded exponentially since the advent of Web 2.0. The sites and software of digital media provide occasions for young people to narrate moments in coming of age; for families to track and narrate their genealogical histories; for people seeking...

Identity Affordances

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Adultery Technologies

Melissa Gregg

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pp. 99-111

In August 2011 the Japanese company Manuscript was forced to amend the settings of its new software application, Karelog (Boyfriend Log), in response to consumer complaints. Drawing on GPS technology, the service allowed users to log in from a computer to track another person’s phone. In the program’s first...

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Facebook and Coaxed Affordances

Aimée Morrison

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pp. 112-131

In a 2007 PMLA article addressing “the changing profession,” Nancy K. Miller (2007) suggests that “[a]utobiography may emerge as a master form in the twenty-first century” (545). Recognizing both the expansion and explosion of popular forms of published autobiography, and the strength and durability of...

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Archiving Disaster and National Identity in the Digital Realm: The September 11 Digital Archive and the Hurricane Digital Memory Bank

Courtney Rivard

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pp. 132-143

“Archives of the future” capable of collecting “instant history”—this was the promising label given to both the September 11 Digital Archive (hereafter Digital Archive) and the Hurricane Digital Memory Bank (HDMB), launched in January 2002 and November 2005, respectively (Brennan and Kelly n.d.). While these

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Life Bytes: Six-Word Memoir and the Exigencies of Auto/tweetographies

Laurie McNeill

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pp. 144-164

In 2006 Larry Smith, a writer and magazine editor, realized his dream to start a publication “celebrating the explosion of personal media and the personal stories that celebrate the brilliance in the ordinary” (Smith 2006b). That magazine is Smith, an online “blog-a-zine” about “you and your neighbor and about

Mediated Communities

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Negotiating Identities/Queering Desires: Coming Out Online and the Remediation of the Coming-Out Story

Mary L. Gray

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pp. 167-197

Amy, a white teenager living in the central region of Kentucky, cited the discovery of an Internet forum for lesbian, gay, bi, trans, queer (LGBTQ), and questioning young people as a defining moment in understanding her own bisexual identity.1 Similar to many of her rural peers, Amy found that online representations...

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“Treat Us Right!”: Digital Publics, Emerging Biosocialities, and the Female Complaint

Olivia Banner

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pp. 298-216

We live in an era filled with claims that the latest information technologies herald a new age in understanding how the body works. From personal genome testing to biotracking devices, from 3-D MRIs to bioscopies, our biotechnologies promise to make visible the invisible and to ferret out core truths encoded...

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Cyber-Self: In Search of a Lost Identity?

Alessandra Micalizzi

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pp. 217-228

This chapter presents a review of the empirical findings resulting from a study about virtual communities dedicated to perinatal death mourning and carried out in 2009. The objective of the research was to determine whether the Internet could develop a new area for socialization and discussion of a loss, with reference...

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Homeless Nation: Producing Legal Subjectivities through New Media

Suzanne Bouclin

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pp. 229-244

Homeless Nation (HN) is a Montreal-based nonprofit organization dedicated to “democratizing technology” throughout Quebec and elsewhere in Canada (Homeless Nation 2002, 1). Its primary vehicle for doing so is a website that has been designed “for and by the street community” (1).1 In step with new user-friendly...


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Autobiography and New Communication Tools

Philippe Lejeune, translated by Katherine Durnin

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pp. 247-258

The topic of this chapter is “How new communication tools have changed autobiography”— a vast and tricky subject. I do not to attempt to prophesy but rather to analyze the terms of the question. I use the word “autobiography” in its broad meaning here as the written expression of a life by an individual. There are at...

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The Blog as Experimental Setting: An Interview with Lauren Berlant

Anna Poletti and Julie Rak

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pp. 259-272

Julie: How did you come to your blog writing process? What made you decide that you were going to prepare your posts in advance? Lauren: My process has developed over time into a thing that is relatively reliable, although I don’t post regularly. In 2004 I published a piece called Unfeeling...


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pp. 273-278


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pp. 279-286

Series Page

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pp. 287-292

E-ISBN-13: 9780299296438
E-ISBN-10: 0299296431
Print-ISBN-13: 9780299296445
Print-ISBN-10: 029929644X

Page Count: 300
Publication Year: 2014

Series Title: Wisconsin Studies in Autobiography
See more Books in this Series

OCLC Number: 867050457
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Identity Technologies

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Autobiography.
  • Online identities.
  • Identity (Psychology) and mass media.
  • Online social networks.
  • Internet -- Social aspects.
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