February 10, 2017

Experimenting with identities and 'alone together'

It was Erik Erikson's idea of the importance of a moratorium or free space, a place of stillness, a place to gather themselves (especially in adolesence) in order to experiment with identities. Sherry Turkle (2011) in 'Alone Together' highlights how people experiment with identities in virtual worlds, although there is a difference to online spaces where there is still a link with the physical world and our place in it. On-line behaviour can help people develop a wider repertoire of real-world possibilities or those may slip away because of time spent on-line.

Csikszentmihalyi outlined by the idea of 'flow': fully immersed in an activity with focus and involvement, while Turkle highlights how on-line life offers continual connection, if you are lonely and/or we crave it (for the shot of dopamine it gives).

Does being always digitally connected mean you are less connected in other respects?

On-line activity may lead to conscious on-line performance.

Erikson - time spent caring for children leads to 'basic trust'.

Turkle - purpose-driven (and networked) individuals leading to detachment, and a decline of empathy. Interesting argument although given that she argues for 'opening up a conversation about technology, privacy and civil society is not romantically nostalgic, not Luddite in the least' (p. 264), when that was EXACTLY what the Luddites wanted. They were not against new technology per se, but rather that which did not consider the wider social consequences, including identities.


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