A Phantasmal Media Approach to Empowerment, Identity, and Computation

D. Fox Harrell

Focusing on questions of social identity, empowerment and computation, D. Fox Harrell explores the emerging world of “phantasmal identities,” that moment when the meaning of social identity is complicated by its intersection with computing technologies including social networking, gaming, virtual worlds and more. Here, social identities are not addressed only through persistent issues of class, gender, sex, race, and ethnicity, but also through dynamic construction of social categories, body language, discourse, metaphorical thought, gesture, fashion, and so on. When these “real” identities meet their counterparts in the virtual world, the results are identities that are a sudden blend of cultural ideas and sensory imagination, namely the increasing development of “phantasmal identities.”

Dr. D. Fox Harrell, Associate Professor of Digital Media in the Comparative Media Studies Program and Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at MIT.

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