Between the Virtual and the Real: A Study of Relations translation missing: zh.hyrax.visibility.files_restricted.text

Rodgers, Stephanie (Spring 2018)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/kh04dp699?locale=zh
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Abstract

The time has passed when an academic interrogation of social networking platforms like Facebook required justification—with the still-to-be-determined role of fake news in the 2016 presidential election, the rise of the #BlackLivesMatter, #metoo, and similar grassroots movements, and pervasive but inscrutable data mining practices, our virtual activities increasingly spill over into our concrete lives.  However, relatively little work has been done within philosophy to explore the relationships between, and within, these two realms.  In this dissertation, I attempt to lay the groundwork for exploring these and similar issues by investigating the nature of our online lives and interactions, specifically within Facebook. 

 

In the first chapter, I provide context for the rise of Facebook by tracing its social media precursors, as well as draw upon empirical data to examine who uses the site and in order to do what.  In the second chapter, using the work of John Dewey, Judith Butler, and Shannon Sullivan, I outline a concept of the self that can account for both its concrete and virtual instantiations, by arguing that the self is performative, habitual, and transactional.  In fact, particular hallmarks of concrete selves can be and are meaningfully replicated in virtual space.

 

In the third chapter, working from the notion that communication is our fundamental tie to other beings, I take Miranda Fricker’s characterization of epistemic injustice to highlight failures in communication, and in chapter 4, I show how these failures are reflected in our online transactions, as well.  However, at the junction of the failures, I highlight the ways in which Facebook users employ the unique tools of virtual space to find new ways to express themselves, within a space that is meaning-generating and self-sustaining.

 

Ultimately, I argue that virtual space is a space unto itself, capable of fostering robust and deeply transactional relationships with other virtual selves.  In this sense, the virtual world, as well as the selves and the relationships built within it, are analogues, rather than mere derivatives, of our concrete selves.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Facebook and Philosophy: Who Cares? ………………………………… 1

I.               Introduction

II.             The Rise of Social Media

III.           Present Day: The Prevalence of Facebook

IV.          But Who Cares?

V.            Defining Social Media

VI.          Foundations

VII.        On the “Real” and the Virtual

VIII.      Chapters in Summary

 

Chapter 2. Persons and Personas……………………………………………………. 38

I.               Introduction

II.             John Dewey on the Self: Transaction and Habit

III.           The Tyranny of Habit

IV.          Judith Butler’s Self: Gender as a Style of Being

V.            The Self as Transactional and Performative: A Mash-Up

VI.          Embodying Together

VII.        Please Excuse My Resting Bitch Face

VIII.      The Self as A Nexus of Relations

IX.          The Digital Self

X.            Conclusion

 

Chapter 3. Transaction and Communication in the Flesh…………………………. 97

I.               Introduction

II.             Relationships in the Flesh: Communication and Interpersonal Dynamics

III.           Epistemic Injustice, or “What We’ve Got Here is a Failure to Communicate”

IV.          Making It Work

V.            Conclusion

 

Chapter 4. Interaction on the Internet……………………………………………… 137

I.               Introduction

II.             This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

III.           Making Meaning on Facebook: Rickrolls, Hamster Dances, and GIFs

IV.          Internet Space: A New Frontier

V.            Conclusion

 

Afterword. Death and Facebook: Where Do We Go From Here? ……………….. 178

I.               Introduction

II.             Grief Tourism and Virtual Rubbernecking

III.           Death of the (Digital) Self

IV.          More Questions, Few Answers

 

Bibliography………………………………………………………………………….. 189

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