who are we? and how is new media technology impacting our lives?
Everyone wonders about and is interested in their own identity; and yet, it is easier for all of us to know others' identities. Self-identity usually is rather unclear to the social actors themselves because it is shifting, changing and always situated -- or so it seems.
This is a world-wide project with researchers from 16 countries colaborating so far. We are still adding scholars and countries to this list and if your country (see below) is not yet represented and you are interested in participating, please contact us.
This project asks how people view their own identity. By asking everyday people about their thoughts on their personal identity, we hope to shed new light on what people do know, what they believe, and what they have to say about their identity.
At the same time, this project asks how new media technology is impacting our lives. While it is often stated and more often presupposed that new media has had great impacts on personal identity, we would like to find out how everyday people think about new media technologies. Are they relevant? and How are they relevant if they are? are the two primary questions that we would like to answer.
Gaëlle's interest in the Who are we? project:
In a communication on identity construction, I adopted the point of view of Cashman & Williams (2008) who found that identity construction occurs both at the macro (ethnic, political, regional, and national identities) and the micro level (family members, friends, teenagers, and individuals). Lacking the necessary data for an analysis of the macro level, I concentrated at the time on the micro level in the theoretical framework of Bucholtz & Hall (2005) and revealed that identity is a co-construction of participants in interactions. The present project however constitutes a real opportunity for collecting data on national identity and completing my previous study.
Najma's fascination with Who Are We?
The effect of new media technology on identity is indubitably the major, inescapable research question that multimodal research has no choice but to address.
Denis' interest in the Who are we? project:
Denis Gagnon has been working on identity since 2004 as chair holder of the Canada Research Chair on Métis Identity. The research undertaken by the Chair is all the more relevant as it takes place in a highly judicial and politicized context in Canada. The findings of the Chair are particularly useful to Canadian Métis communities deprived of official recognition, such as those in Québec and the Maritimes, as well as the French-speaking Métis minority in the Western Provinces. The World-wide project on personal identity is very interesting by its international dimension and for the network implied and I am very proud to be one of the team.
Rodney's interest in the Who are we? project:
I have long been interested in multiple aspects of identity and identity politics around issues like disease, disability, gender and sexuality.
Carmen's interest in the Who are we? project:
Part of my current research work is concentrated on exploring how corporate identities are represented and communicated in corporate discourses across various media both at national and international level. The main focus is on the communicative strategies that are employed to facilitate the identification of individuals with the collective membership of a corporation. Therefore I am interested in participating in this world-wide project about identity in order to understand how the processes, through which an individual’s identity takes the form of various personas, can be influenced by everyday interactions with media.
Angela's interest in the Who are we? project:
It is fascinating to analyze how different cultures and people at different ages are living with new technologies, and making connections between social, rhetorical and linguistic behavior aspects.
Kirk's interest in the Who are we? project:
I have gradually become interested in identity over the last 20 years. This is partly inspired by my moving between England, Wales, Cornwall, New Zealand, Germany and Sweden, partly by wondering what identities my children will have, and partly by the research of one of my PhD students. The offer to be part of this project landed on my desk as I approach the point where I will have lived half of my life abroad and have no valid passport from my country of birth, yet today I avidly read web news from my country of birth.
Thomas' interest in the Who are we? project:
Everyday life has long been embedded into circles of closeness such as home, city and nation. Since new media technologies have a changing impact on interaction, relations of closeness and distance are becoming more complex. Space and time no longer seem to be pure forms of sensible intuition as their experience is shaped by new technologies connecting people between continents in real-time. As Paul Virilio pointed out in Revolutions of Speed (1993), real-time technologies reorganize our perception of the world and as one of their effects closeness and distance fit into each other. Thus, it is my interest to learn more about the interrelations of new media technologies, our experiences of space and time and personal identity constitution in mediated interaction.