Chapter

Identity Crises

Kendall Lori

in Hanging Out in the Virtual Pub

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 2002 | ISBN: 9780520230361
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520935983 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520230361.003.0005
Identity Crises

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This chapter deals with identity and relationships mediated by computers, with particular attention to the effects of gender. It discusses the effects of the mediated and networked character of Internet, communications on online interaction; when combined with the cultural context of the Internet, such effects create a special vulnerability of online social groups. Names constitute an important identity peg on which one hangs knowledge of a person, summoning up that knowledge by reference to the name. In online worlds names assumes even greater significance as visual cues are unavailable. The article also describes how exclusively textual communications can facilitate deception and lead to identity ambiguity and confusion. The possibilities for identity masquerade, ambiguity, deception, and confusion on muds can make it difficult to know to whom you are talking. Muds that do not require registration impose few limits on people's ability to change identity representations at will to withstand such situations.

Keywords: identity; identity crisis; identity masquerade; name; muds

Chapter.  11216 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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