A tale of multiple selves: Im/materialising identities on facebook

J. Rowsell, J. Burgess

Research output: Book/ReportAuthored book

6 Citations (Scopus)


One summer’s evening Jennifer observed three 12-year-olds playing Saints Row (Voliton Inc., 2006), a popular PlayStation video game, on their PS3. It took an hour for them to create avatars for each other, and this was done amidst critique, discussions, raucous laughter, revisions, more laughter, subtle shifts in body parts and facial expressions, a variety of skin colours and genders. They eventually played the game for ten minutes and then shifted over to a DVD to watch Dinner for Schmucks (Roach, 2010). The brief scene threw into relief a strong theme in the book and in this chapter, which is a liminal space that transpires when corporeal, material bodies vaporise into cybernetic immaterial systems. Cybernetics is a process through which a human becomes digitised into an avatar or online character. It is a way of separating the physical from the mental-moving from materialities into immaterialities. The naturalised practice of taking a physical form and transforming it into an ephemeral, vaporised self is fairly commonplace and is the focus of this chapter, which follows the way in which four individuals materialise self in immaterial spaces.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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