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Avatar and Self: A Rhetoric of Identity Mediated Through Collaborative Role-Play

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Date Issued:
2013
Abstract/Description:
This project responds to a problem in scholarship describing the relationship between virtual avatars and their physical users. In Life on the Screen, Sherry Turkle identifies points of slippage wherein the persona of the avatar becomes conflated with the user's sense of self to create an authentic self predicated on both real and virtual experiences (Turkle 184-5). Although the conflation of the authentic self with the virtual has provided various affordances for serious games or other pedagogical projects such as classrooms hosted through the game Second Life, the processes enabling identification with an avatar have been largely overlooked. This project examines several layers of influence that affect how users play with identity to create successful social performances within an online community connected to a work of fiction. In doing so, the user must consider his or her own motivations for creating a persona, how these motivations will allow the avatar to achieve social acceptance, and how these social performances connect to the scene created by the work of fiction. Using an online role-playing forum based on a work of fiction as a site of analysis, this project will borrow from game studies, dramatism, and identity theory to create a framework for discussing processes through which users identify with their virtual avatars.
Title: Avatar and Self: A Rhetoric of Identity Mediated Through Collaborative Role-Play.
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Name(s): Andrews, Pamela, Author
Pigg, Stacey, Committee Chair
McDaniel, Thomas, Committee Member
Bowdon, Melody, Committee Member
, Committee Member
University of Central Florida, Degree Grantor
Type of Resource: text
Date Issued: 2013
Publisher: University of Central Florida
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: This project responds to a problem in scholarship describing the relationship between virtual avatars and their physical users. In Life on the Screen, Sherry Turkle identifies points of slippage wherein the persona of the avatar becomes conflated with the user's sense of self to create an authentic self predicated on both real and virtual experiences (Turkle 184-5). Although the conflation of the authentic self with the virtual has provided various affordances for serious games or other pedagogical projects such as classrooms hosted through the game Second Life, the processes enabling identification with an avatar have been largely overlooked. This project examines several layers of influence that affect how users play with identity to create successful social performances within an online community connected to a work of fiction. In doing so, the user must consider his or her own motivations for creating a persona, how these motivations will allow the avatar to achieve social acceptance, and how these social performances connect to the scene created by the work of fiction. Using an online role-playing forum based on a work of fiction as a site of analysis, this project will borrow from game studies, dramatism, and identity theory to create a framework for discussing processes through which users identify with their virtual avatars.
Identifier: CFE0004807 (IID), ucf:49735 (fedora)
Note(s): 2013-08-01
M.A.
Arts and Humanities, Writing and Rhetoric
Masters
This record was generated from author submitted information.
Subject(s): avatars -- online role-playing game -- characters -- Kenneth Burke -- online identities
Persistent Link to This Record: http://purl.flvc.org/ucf/fd/CFE0004807
Restrictions on Access: public 2013-08-15
Host Institution: UCF

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