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Rogozinska Blogtalk 2008


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Rogozinska Blogtalk 2008

  1. 1. Everyday Body Regimes <ul><li>The Construction of Self in Weblogs </li></ul><ul><li>about Dieting </li></ul>Anna Rogozińska, M.A. Institute of Polish Culture Warsaw University
  2. 2. Inspirations: Identity as a Reflexive Project Identity as a Reflexive Project <ul><li>Self-identity [(late and post-) modern] described as fluid, fragmented and ever-changing. No longer given, but reflexive, self-constructed, discursive and mediated. </li></ul><ul><li>Goffman’s performative identity </li></ul><ul><li>Giddens’ narrative identity </li></ul><ul><li>Bauman’s palimpsest identity </li></ul>
  3. 3. Inspirations: Identity as a Reflexive Project Identity as a Reflexive Project <ul><ul><li>Goffman’s performative identity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Giddens’ narrative identity : </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>self constructed through a set of biographical narratives </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>narratives further materialized through lifestyles, consumptive choices and body regimes. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bauman’s palimpsest identity </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Inspirations: Theories of Virtual Identity Theories of Virtual Identity <ul><li>A set of internet features, above all its anonymity, disembodiment and its being a predominantly male sphere, has been analyzed as facilitating identity play (with particular importance of gender play and race play). </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Turkle (1997) : </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>multiple selves </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>distinction between the “real life self” and those staged online </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Wakeford (2000) : </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>identity staged not only as text </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>different media and environments, different analysis </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Methodological concerns <ul><li>how to “read” identity from the logovisual discourse of the internet: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>many internet environments still predominantly logovisual, not multimedial (blogs as an exception) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>attention must be paid to their specificity (medium, its materiality and content organizing rules, aesthetics, modes of production and consumption, social roles of author and reader, channels of distribution) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>how to place virtual identities within existing theories of self-identity: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>categories should be developed in relation to content, not content in relation to categories (Turkle 1997) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>analyzed notions cannot be distilled from their wider context </li></ul></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Alternative: Writing the Self as a Cultural Practice Writing the Self as a Cultural Practice <ul><li>Context as a key notion in anthropological research of the internet. Analyzed set of meanings is always: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>mediated (internet as a supermedium, internet environments, text, image, sound, motion picture, language itself) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>social (roles, hierarchies, institutions) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>cultural (norms and values, customs) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Cultural practice is entangled in all these contexts. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Alternative: Writing the Self as a Cultural Practice Writing the Self as a Cultural Practice <ul><li>Three main aspects of writing the self as a cultural practice: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>technology (registration, data presentation, thematic construction, multimedia use, convergence of many internet environments) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>means of identity construction (tickers, links, personal galleries, biographical narrative, frequency) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>social context (rules of identity construction, weblog biographical narrative as a genre, language knowledge) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Methodology <ul><li>discourse analysis: form and content </li></ul><ul><li>participatory observation </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>researcher as an user </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>being a fellow user as participation </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>(Jenkins, Hills) </li></ul></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Research Material <ul><li> ( ) - one of the biggest Polish portals about dieting </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>founded in 2000 (blogs started in 2007, about 1000) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>more than 60000 registered users </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>82% are women ( average in Polish internet: 48%) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>almost 70% younger than 25 (average: less than 45%) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>50% from small towns smaller than 20000 citizens (average: 14%) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>more than 140000 visits per month </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>many internet environments </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Source: Megapanel PBI/Gemius (November 2007) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Raport “Internet 2006” by Gemius SA </li></ul></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Context of the Portal <ul><li>structure: articles, diet plans, calculators, BB, chat, contacts, ads </li></ul><ul><li>registration: from guest to co-author </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ Chubby” (age, gender, height, weight, city) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Measure Thyself - role of calculators in identity formation and maintenance (BMI, Kcal, Weight) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>forum: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>profile </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>sub-fora (identification with a group) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>being a host (my own “I’m Starting Tomorrow!” thread) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>stress on interaction and information exchange </li></ul></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Diet (B)logging in Context <ul><ul><ul><li>Blogs as a part of a thematic portal: </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Technological aspects: </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>technological framework (fixed set of themes and categories, widgets/lack of widgets, template features) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>separate login - what are the intersections of blog and forum usage? </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>no blog/portal linkage (apart from the domain name) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Social and communication aspects </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>presentation of self vs interaction </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>monologue vs dialogue </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>structured and focused experience (clear division, calendar) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Cultural/Thematic aspects </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>My Space vs We Space (different aspects) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  12. 14. Dieting Self on Blogs <ul><li>the everyday organized by certain lifestyle: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>counting calories </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>eating 4-5 times a day, always with food in mind </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>making certain consumptive choices (i.e. diet supplements) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>where to go to, whom to go with </li></ul></ul><ul><li>body as the main determinant of one’s identification, body under regime (always too much and not close enough to the ideal) </li></ul><ul><li>calculators - no blog widgets available, presented as text </li></ul><ul><li>self is reflexive, counting and constantly on watch </li></ul><ul><li>all true for BB as well - difference of extent? </li></ul>
  13. 15. (B)Logging the Diet <ul><li>my blog = my journal = the space where I set rules (even though not outside of convention) </li></ul><ul><li>making technology mine (expressing oneself through design, media use, marking space) </li></ul><ul><li>blogging and dieting as two ways of structuring one’s life intertwined in diet weblogs (multi-thematic genre) </li></ul><ul><li>functions: therapy, self-help, structure, self-definition, self-reflection, self-expression, interaction on my own terms </li></ul>
  14. 16. To sum up <ul><li>Identity of a diet blogger: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>constructed through personal uses of technology at hand </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>built around specific subject set in a context of everyday life </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>refers to other online identities that may also be staged within the same thematic context </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Question for discussion: </li></ul><ul><li>Is miladka on blog, forum, Flickr and the same person? </li></ul>
  15. 17. Thank you!