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Segment: Sherry Turkle on Being Alone Together | …

These are problems, but minor ones. Despite them, Turkle's psychological approach is valuable for considering how people play with identity on line. Her biggest problems come about through her generalisations. For example, on pp. 30-35 she writes of the "engrossing power" or "holding power" of computers, akin to addiction in some users. But her sample is limited, as she investigates only regular users of CMC. What of those who are alienated by computers, or at best dislike them , even as they may be "addicted" to other technologies, including ones with a family resemblance such as the mobile phone or television? Even amongst those who feel comfortable with computers, Turkle's chosen media of interaction (Usenet, MUDs and chat rooms) are relatively unimportant compared to e-mail and the WWW (and once again we should include mobile phones and texting here) .Nor is there any mention of the overwhelmingly white, middle-class bias of her sample, except in passing and almost sympathetically (pp. 238-241). "We are all dreaming cyborg dreams", she writes (p. 264) -- all of us? Single mothers on sink estates? Poor Bangladeshis?

Cyberspace and identity sherry turkle essay

The Russian literary theorist articulated the notion of dialogism, which he thought of as the simultaneous coexistence of competing discourses, or a dialogue between "voices" anticipating and answering one another. Imagine, for example, a discussion at a dinner table in which you define your own ideas by saying things like, "She said...," or "I read....." or "I heard on television..." This multitude of voices produces what has been called a : different voices speaking together to form a complexly layered dialogue. Every culture is, in effect, a mosaic of competing voices; likewise, every person is known through a collage of references to other texts.

Turkle Sherry Cyberspace and Identity Writing and …

Sherry Turkle talks of the on-line identity ..

As Sherry Turkle makes clear in the title to her book, now that we are blessed with high-technology simulations, that's us we are watching on the screen.

She establishes a formal relationship with her audience of literary scholars interested in feminist criticism who are familiar with the work of Brontë, Bunyan, Lord Byron and others and are intrigued by feminist theory as it relates to Victorian literature.

Psychologist Sherry Turkle talks to ..

sherry turkle cyberspace and identity essay matrimony essay

There is nothing intrinsically wrong with analysing these developments. But it is a purely psychological approach, with Turkle herself acting as the psychologist, and even considered as psychology, her analysis is flawed. The idea of "disembodiment" is a key theme for Turkle, but this is an impossibility. The "personae" being constructed and then deployed in the online spaces represented by MUDs, chatrooms etc., remain tied to their owners. For example, on p. 185, she asks:

Online selves are not "simulations", but the actual person themselves, their real thoughts and feelings at the time. If someone else wrote a computer program to pretend to be Drew Whitworth (or Sherry Turkle, or anyone else), or simply decided to impersonate me online, this might count as "simulation". But the facets of ourselves we present in CMC are merely another aspect of the multiple selves (parent, work colleague, socialite, sports fan) we present offline as well, depending on the circumstances of the interaction. Online, what is blurred is not the "self", but clues to identity that we are used to receiving in synchronous communication (yet have for millennia accepted as missing from other, asynchronous forms of written communication). ICT (and CMC) have not created the desire to "disembody", or to play with one's gender or identity. But they have made it easier and less risky. The only reason risks exist here is because of . (Note how mediaeval masquerades or carnivals privileged these kinds of role-reversals for short periods of time, providing spaces where accepted social norms could be overturned without fear of censure; at the same time, note how these are and temporary transgressions .) The "disembodiment" is purely figurative anyway, and is in fact no more than happens in ordinary communication. CMC merely takes place via a particular type of medium in which visual clues to identity are absent.

In her essay “Cyberspace and Identity” (1999), Sherry ..
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Sherry Turkle - Biography - MIT

When we interact in cyberspace, how is our sense of self affected? A growing body of critical writing suggests that travelling in cyberspace--whether we're using email, chat, surfing the web, or participating in online gaming--provides new conditions for the construction of identity. Some, like Sherry Turkle, claim that distributed networking leads to the perception that we are decentered, multiple selves, open to greater possibilities and variety; others such as Katherine Hayles and Donna Haraway argue that we have become so entangled in webs of information and technology that we have already become posthuman cyborgs. Whatever we might conclude about the nature of identity in cyberspace (very likely a personal conclusion), it seems clear that in cyberspace we are in a new performance medium. While we may still feel the same about ourselves, the stage has surely changed, and so have the guidelines for the actors.

Edited and with an introduction by Sherry Turkle

Let us accept, then, that Turkle's sample is limited. Even then there are difficulties. Turkle suggests that the online sphere can accommodate -- indeed encourages -- the kind of flexibility she is interested in because there, the "self is constructed and the rules of social interaction are built, not received" (p. 10). But there is a problem here. This detaches the sphere from all previous, constraining rules. This may indeed be Turkle's intention, but she is wrong -- and even as a psychologist, should know this. Our very ways of thinking, the possibilities and alternatives we can conceive of, let alone accept, are constrained by inbuilt assumptions, conformity, educational practices and many other examples of cognitive manipulation. It is possible that the flexibility and adaptability evident in her subjects is a sign of "developmental plasticity" of the sort Dobzhansky described (see ), and therefore possibly a psychological reaction to the demands of the modern (or indeed postmodern) world. But Turkle, probably being unaware of this connection, never makes it.

Sherry Turkle studies how technology is shaping our modern ..

But she is, at best, a vulgar postmodernist, seeing only surfaces and simulations rather than the underlying realities from which different interpretations (and the for them) spring. From such a perspective, all simulations have equal validity and equal force. Yet this is simply not the case. Decisions are taken about what simluations will take precedence over others, and these are political decisions, affected by power relations. It is true that postmodernism is "nonmechanical", but this means that when it is "translated" into mechanical form, it take on board some of the features of the technology, and the values which have been encoded into that technology.

technology and less from each other sherry turkle, Length: 370 ..

is one of the formative texts of "cyberculture". It has become a definitive work; virtually any book on the subject feels obliged to quote it. Many papers imitate it . Yet it is deeply flawed. Admittedly an amount of hindsight is used in making this judgment. The book was first published in 1995, and therefore written and researched before the explosion of the WWW. Nevertheless there are reasons why it seems over-optimistic about the things it describes -- principally, Internet users' achieving a form of emancipation through shifting and manipulating online identities. These problems stem directly from Turkle's mode of analysis, and her failure to appreciate the links between the online "spaces" she describes and those aspects of offline life which constrain them.

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