Vassar College Digital Library
The diminishing of temporal and spatial boundaries in the contemporary age of connectivity has fully realized Beck, Giddens and Nash's "reflexive" modernity. This reflexive modernity refers to the diminishing control of traditional institutions on individual lives. In the shift towards loosely bounded networks as the operant mode of socialization, I propose that both collective and self identity become individualized choices. People are able to pick and choose the different aspects of their formative identity as well as the elective communities to share and consume those aspects. Using a convenience sample, I perform a case study on to explore how biographical experience and individual performance are critical in navigating online networks and representing the self in discursive cyberspace. I approach identity through the lens of queer theory to develop a fluid understanding on identity formation and practice. I argue that the exchanges that take place in discursive cyberspace are not only meaningful in terms developing networks of alternative knowledges, affective support, and social capital, but are also foundational to reproducing reflexivity and its tendency towards individualization.
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