Rationalized identity construction, networked subjectivity, and the emerging 'data self' - Rob Horning


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Rationalized identity construction, networked subjectivity, and the emerging 'data self' - Rob Horning

  1. 1. Google-AlertFor the SoulRationalized identityconstruction and thepostauthentic data selfRob Horning
  2. 2. Neoliberalism and individuality “Neoliberal ideology does not produce its subjects by interpellating them into symbolically anchored identities … Instead, it enjoins subjects to develop our creativepotential and cultivate our individuality. Communicative capitalism’s circuits ofentertainment and consumption supply the ever new experiences andaccessories we use to perform this self-fashioning—I must be fit! I must bestylish! I must realize my dreams. I must because I can—everyone wins. If Idon’t, not only am I a loser but I am not a person at all. I am not partof everyone.” —Jodi Dean from Democracy and Other Neoliberal
  3. 3. Threats to authenticity Consumerist ideology of authenticity: • The true, authentic, “real” self is internal, a priori. • We should have total control over who we are and how we’re seen (“privacy”) • Autonomous choice in the marketplace allows for “self-actualization” • Authentic behavior is spontaneous Social media make that authenticity untenable: • Context collapse, privacy controls useless • Precarity leads to unspontaneous self-promotion • Continual self-monitoring • Ubiquitous surveillance
  4. 4. The data self• The “true self” is a future self posited by filters, algorithms and network positionality• Social media as oracle foretelling one’s authenticity• Quantitative, not qualitative, so it can be grown• Self-surveillance seems to occur after the fact, not before• What can’t be shared and processed is “unreal,” irrelevant to identity
  5. 5. Benefits of data self• Provides illusion of control over inevitable individuation• Outsources normalization so it feels less coercive• Resolves gap between lived self and social media self• Eases ego depletion• Allows for information control• Gives concrete microaffirmations and means for continually accruing them
  6. 6. Social media totality• The mesh of social networks function as an efficient system for processing everyday life to imbue it with meaning• “grammatization of the social”• mechanism for turning experience into cultural capital, or quantified identity
  7. 7. The “affect of efficiency”• Social media becomes a dashboard affording a “relaxed feeling of control”• Evaluative criteria is efficiency rather than authenticity.• “Winning” by having outsourced the production of one’s own subjectivity; frees subject for higher level thinking/curating/consuming “Getting things done”
  8. 8. Data selves and postauthenticity• Not quantified Gods but “dividuals”• We don’t own or program the filters that are norming us• Vulnerable to disconnection• Haunted by possibility of the ineffablePostauthentcity• An aesthetics of momentum• Non-signifying communication• Contentless, ephemeral identity• Ad hoc social networks to sustain collective individuation