Identity (Re)evaluation in Cyberspace

Abstract. This article explores ways the Internet is used to scrutinize personal and social offline identities in dispersed societal groups. Through a discussion forum narrative and textual analysis, we demonstrate how the Internet affords marginalized groups (specifically individuals of African ancestry) the ability to strengthen their identity. Through online communication with group members, of varying perspectives all across the globe, individuals are able to work through the tensions of “who I am” versus “who society says I am”. This is an important contradiction to explore as there are various dangers to approaching racial collectives as homogeneous entities, when these groups often view themselves as distinct. Exploring this notion in a virtual context also speaks to the various and complex relationships that exist between offline and online identities.

Keywords: Communication Technologies, Diaspora, Digital Divide, Identity, Internet

Hales, K. and Kvasny, L. (2010) Identity (Re)evaluation in Cyberspace, Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on ICT for Africa, March 25-27, Yaounde, Cameroon. Baton Rouge, LA: International Center for IT and Development.

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