Virtual Subjectivity on Social Networking Sites: Transforming the Politics of Self-Surveillance

Date

2014-04-30

Authors

Koit, Naomi

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Abstract

Social networking sites (SNSs) are designed to cure loneliness and fill a void left by the lack of face-to-face communication in this digital age. Given the rapid growth rate and extensive popularity of social networking sites, my research aims to investigate the validity of widespread claims indicating that members of the millennial generation who have grown up on SNSs are increasingly narcissistic and self-obsessed because of their involvement on these sites. To address these claims, I turn to key insights borrowed from computer sciences and social psychology, inspired by the exemplary work of Sherry Turkle and ideas from Michel Foucault. I find that the digital subject is caught in a vicious circle of narcissistic attachment and panic insecurity, driven to constant self-surveillance and examination in a digital form of the modern panopticon where cybercitizens can be left feeling alienated and alone despite continuous connection to others online.

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Keywords

Social Networking Sites, Self-Surveillance, Subjectivity, Virtual, Self, Narcissism, Insecurity

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