Sherry. "Identity Crisis." Vitanza 57-76.
Turkle begins by suggesting that metaphors for pshychoanalysis predominate in
every era. Fluidity and stability contend, increasingly, in the high tides
of postmodernism. Turkle examines the implications of MUDs and other
online domains for identity play: "Online switches among personae seem quite
natural. Indeed, for [Emily Martin], they are a kind of practice. Martin would
call them practicums" (58). Citing Gergen, Tukle invokes his phrase, a "pastiche
of personalities" to describe identificatory play and experimentation (^liken to
tourism in Nakamura). Generally, she gets at the tension between unity and
inner pluralism or inner multiplicity–differences that are primarily metaphoric
(and these metaphors are amplified by material technologies and language).
"I am not limited in the number of links I can create" (61).
"At one extreme, the unitary self maintains its oneness by repressing all
that does not fit. Thus censored, the illegitimate parts of the self are
not accessible" (63). Turkle’s insight here is fairly balanced, and her
perspective magnifies the limitations of both perspectives, while still
acknowledging that, good or bad, online technologies make play possible.
"We are encouraged to think of ourselves as fluid, emergent, decentralized,
multiplicitous, flexible, and ever in process" (67). Or, on the other hand,
"Emergent or not, when reduced to our most basic elements, we are made up,
mind and body, of information" (69). ^Provocative claim. Turkle goes on
to explain why it’s complicated, controversial.
"As we stand on the boundary between the real and the virtual, our experience
recalls what the anthropologist Victor Turner terms a liminal moment, a
moment of passage when new cultural symbols and meanings can emerge. Liminal
moments are times of tension, extreme reactions, and great opportunity" (71).
"pastiche of personalities" – Gergen (59), "languages of the self" – Gergen
(60), "continuum of dissociation" – Hacking (63), inner diversity (64), "liminal
moment" – Turner (71)
- Related sources:
- Gergen, Kenneth. The Saturated Self: Dilemmas of Identity in
Contemporary Life. New York: Basic Books, 1991.
- Dennett, Daniel C. Consciousness Explained. Boston: Little, Brown
and Company, 1991.
- Hayles, N. Katherine. Chaos Bound: Orderly Disorder in Contemporary
Literature and Science. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell UP, 1990.