02 Avatars and Identity
Identity – Who are you?
Identity itself seems to be about a question, ‗who am I‘?
We feel like we should answer this. The name is a very important factor and major deal.
Should the same be similar, related, and different?
Last names are not controllable. Someone can give you a first name, but there is a lot of
complications if you change your first name
o How are identities formed?
o How much control do we have shaping our own identities?
We believe that we can control this. We have some agencies such as choices in our lives,
but there are some things that affect that
Some constraints include race, gender (sex is a genetic makeup, whereas gender is a
social construction), where we live, occupation
We have a certain amount of control is what we think, but there are things we cannot
control how people see us. There are many social constraints and how your identity is
seen by others
Identity is different from personality in important respects. We may share personality traits with other
people, but sharing an identity suggests some active engagement on our part
o i.e. Young friend on the street is making an active decision to convert her identity
o i.e. Extroversion is a type of personality, people are born this that type of inclination. You know
there are people who are more extroverted than others
o Identity is about a choice – realm of the big things such as political engagement (i.e.
democrat/liberal/etc.) These are active choices to engage in a particular group
Religion can also be skewed and is a choice you are making
We choose to identify with a particular identity or group. Sometimes we have more choice than others
o Structures, the forces beyond our control which shape our identities, and
i.e. Citizenship – if you are Southern Italian, it is cultural thing. There are many labels
when you are asked what you come from
o Agency, the degree of control which we ourselves can exert over who we are.
Things that we can engage with and make that change
Identity Links us to the World
Identity provides a link between individuals and the world in which they live.
o There are people who will say they are not like you, or more like you. You position yourself
Identity combines how you see yourself and how others see you.
o When you purchase clothes, you are making yourself look a certain way. It is part of our aesthetics
Identity involves the internal and the subjective, and the external. It is a socially recognised position,
recognised by others, not just by you.
o Sometimes, there are places around the world which makes you step out of your body. For
example, some places force you to wear clothes
o The way you might see it is not the way others may see it. Some people have made a choice to be
Symbols are a key mechanism by which we declare identity
o People who wear a cross, necklace are obviously symbolizing Christianity. They are making a link
to the world
o Persona – we think of it as equivalent to the avatar. The word persona comes from the Latin word
‗mask‘. When we think of it now, we think of our authentic self.
In the offline world, we are our real self. However, when you think about it, in the real
world you are not completely yourself either. We wear masks all the time. We do things
in different scenarios. We are not the same person everywhere
o Avatar – although for most people, the avatar is the thing in the screen. However, when you think
about it, we are actually all playing a role in different situations. This is all parts of being social
o How you look is an information exchange
In summary… Identity involves:
o A link between the personal and the social;
o Some active engagement by those who take up identities;
o Being the same as some people and different from others, as indicated by symbols and