Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Uncertain Individuals

Srinivasan is very optimistic about the potential for information systems to be able to serve immigrant, ethnic, or indigenous communities for their own cultural understandings and expressions. However, I wonder if this applies to social communities on the whole, in particular individuals. Srinivasan points out the contradiction that the 3rd space of online communities enforces local communities. What about individuals who do not see themselves within a particular ethnic/immigrant/indigenous community? How do they generate subjectivity? Or rather do these individuals only take up a position within this 3rd space of online communities to fill in this reality gap?

In Ien Ang’s essay the realm of the social is complicated in that the social is a “site of potentially infinite semiosis” (173). Since there is no social totality, this construction means that identities can only be partially fixed or rather there is a constant transformation of identities. In this current realm of uncertainty or chaos are social networks like Facebook and MySpace involved with the creation of individual’s subjectivity because these programs are constantly changing and updated?  If social selves are generated in information systems and identity is always in flux, then how do the communities Srinivasan discusses create coherent identities? Is it more realistic from Ang’s view to look at individuals as always changing and renegotiating their identities rather than whole communities? Or would Ang and Srinivasan meet on the common ground that both individual and community identities are always in negotiation with media forms? 

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