Academic journal article Informatica Economica

Homo Digitalis - in Search of a Patterned Usage Identity

Academic journal article Informatica Economica

Homo Digitalis - in Search of a Patterned Usage Identity

Article excerpt

1 Introduction

More than four decades ago, Clifford Geertz [1] began the analysis of his The Interpretation of Cultures by referring to Susanne Langer's views on great ideas which, as she understood, appear all of a sudden to offer a solution to all the questions unanswered before or to shed a new light on those that had already been answered. Recontextualisation appears to be a sort of a key in reading the world as it has never been done before. But the overuse of such terminology and the suitable-in-all-fields feature it may hold for a time eventually backfires. Such great ideas alongside their great wordings wear out becoming nothing more than buzz words. Strictly speaking, as Geertz suggests, the great ideas only transiently suffice the multitude of fields they may comprise of on various degrees.

On the other hand, before proving their worthlessness and passing into the oblivion of the scientific discourse, such concepts become the primary focus of epistemological debate under constant struggles to enlarge and to fine tune their meaning. Far and away, the greater the complexity of the era is, the bigger the number of concepts defining the way the scholars narrate about their surrounding realities. Today, such concepts are, among others, memory, trauma and identity emerging as intrinsic to all social sciences discourses and combining in various ways to become sufficient in depicting the constantly changing cultural realities. The large array of fields which incorporate in their texts such concepts on the other hand erode their capacity of deciphering realities and the constant scientific hype around them might eventually render those useless. A fortunate way of escaping from a conceptual uselessness lays within the use of determiners, functioning both to delineate the filed in which they are used and to grade various particular usages within a certain field.

With an ever increasing pace of development and ubiquitous presence, the field of computer-mediated communication makes no exception. The scientific discourse constantly borrows from adjacent narratives of social science leading thus to a networked conceptual frame pretty much in the sense of the networked individual it seeks to analyse. This is, in fact, the purpose of this article: to try to define a type of identity stemming from the contemporary use of technology, the digital identity.

2 Identity

Incorporated in the anthropological discourse of the 60s and 70s of the 20th century, the concept of identity migrated from one discipline to another and changed its meaning quite a few times [2], [3]. Of the multitude of definitions and perspectives the concept incorporated over the years, only those useful to this paper will be reviewed here.

Generally speaking, the central meaning today, resulting from the binary opposition with otherness, could be narrowed down to an intricate exercise of self-identification with a group or the self-identification of a group, whereas such identification is, in fact, a constant cultural negotiation for achieving various degrees of sameness or, on the contrary, paradoxically, various degrees of difference. Identity is so seen as a process of constructing (rather than the construction itself) based on ìndependent (or individualistic) and interdependent (or collectivistic) cultural construal's` [4]. The fear of essentialism leads the discourse away from a type of reification it was subjected to thus enabling identity to become a synonym for multiplicity, fluidity and fragmentation [5].

The trinomial enlargement of meaning may be seen as a direct consequence of the fact that the negotiation of identity is performed between the individual characteristics, i.e. personality traits, values and preferences, etc., and the social one, i.e. the roles a person plays in the group [6].

But, it is crucially important to mention that the individual vs. the social characteristics in shaping identity is hardly an invention of recent trends in conceptual appropriation, the uneven weigh they carry having shifted repeatedly over time. …

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