Technology, Identity and Postmodern Theory

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Technology, Identity and Postmodern Theory

By | November 2010
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Introduction

In his essay, Postmodern Virtualities, Mark Poster argues that modernity placed much value on rational, idealized and centred persons (he cites the ‘reasonable man of the law’ and the ‘educated citizen of democracy’ as examples). This however has evolved and with postmodernism comes a culture that nurtures individuality and forms of identity very different to those of modernist thought. ( Postmodern Virtualities, 1995. Online source)

As communication technologies enhance and develop rapidly, it brings with it a new configuration of individuality. People use these electronic communication methods on a daily basis, transforming the way that we ourselves communicate with each other demanding that we speak and act differently thus altering our own individuality.

This essay seeks to establish how technological development (especially with regard to virtual communities) impacts on individual’s identity today, and how this is linked with various postmodernist theories.

Firstly the author will look at what virtual communities actually are and their uses in today’s society, moving on to the realm in which these societies actually exist, cyberspace and Baudrillars’s theory of hyper reality. The author will then highlight a number of ways in which these virtual communities impact on the individual and the way in which we communicate both on and offline and how this can be linked to key post modernist theory.

Virtual Communities

In his book, Virtual Communities, Howard Rheingold describes a virtual community as “social aggregations that emerge from the Net when enough people carry on those public discussions long enough, with sufficient human feeling, to form webs of personal relationships”

Online communities have the capability to build relationships and connect people on both a personal and professional level, share information worldwide in seconds and allows individuals to take control of the online landscape with participatory media....
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