Key Terms

-Uses and gratification theory


  • Herbert Mead (1863-1931)
    • “the self is a symbolic project which the individual actively constructs and develops, drawing on symbolic resources to construct a sense of identity in the context of engagement with familial figures and the ‘generalized other ‘”
    • Saw self as a mode of negotiation between others and the individual, and even within the individual i.e. existence precedes essence
    • The self is a social product, “an outcome of social symbolic interaction’” seeking coherence and orientation in a social world
  • Irving Goffman (1922- 1982)
    • The self is a multiplicity of roles, performed to different audiences, and so continually monitored and negotiated to maintain social cohesion
  • Anthony Giddens (1938- )
  • Zygmunt Bauman (1925-2017)
  • Kate Crawford

-Virtual self

-Ideal self

-Performative self

-Extended self

-Dramaturgical theory of the self

  • We put on a mask, performing different roles or selves for an intended audience.

-Selfie (technological/virtual self)

-History trajectory of the concept of self

  • Self as identity concept begins to become defined in the 1960s, a product of various global transformations that unfolded from about the early 1960s through to the postmodern 1980s and 1990s
  • Countering the myth of persistence
  • Postmodern Selfhood
    • Fragmentation, media saturated world saturates and corrodes the individual
    • Dislocation, loss of anchorage, loss of depth
    • Contradiction, multiple valences of identities across multiple realms, technologies, spheres, publics, and among multiple, often contradictory audiences
    • Resulting phenomena: Context collapse, referring to a blurring of audiences and social practices (linguistic and social cues).

-Private self

  • Private activities on public, semi-public and open networks
  • In October 2012, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that an employee should expect a reasonable expectation of privacy with regard to their use of computer equipment and network access
  • Expanded Reach = Expanded Audience = Expanded Exposure
    • When crafting a message for one person we can anticipate the audience receiving our message. When we post something for the available audience on our social network, we rely on an imagined audience to craft our messages
    • What factors might affect the construction of our imagined audience?
  • Should we expect privacy online?

-Ethical quandaries

  • Censorship, prohibition, violation

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