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Title: Constructing online identities on social networking sites : social, economic and cultural distinctions made by privileged Mexican users
Author: García, Lorena Nessi
Awarding Body: Nottingham Trent University
Current Institution: Nottingham Trent University
Date of Award: 2011
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This thesis examines how online identities are constructed on social networking sites (SNSs). Research is based on use by Mexican adult users of some of the most popular SNSs: MySpace, Hi5 and Facebook. Online profiles are analysed as assemblages shaped both by SNS users uploading content and SNS developers providing specific formats and rules for use. The use of multimedia data and representations is analysed as charged with cultural meaning, and users are considered as negotiating both objective and subjective properties of identity to be shared with their contacts. Online identities on SNSs are frequently conceived of and treated as a reflection of the offline selves of users. This thesis argues that users of SNSs face the need to negotiate the data and representations used to construct their identities online according to their social, cultural and economic backgrounds, a range of conditions which influence the ways in which they interact with their contacts. The process of selection, mediation and carefully crafted representation involved in the construction of identities on these sites is critically analysed here. The internet has been widely view ed as possessing a liberating potential, in an increasingly interconnected world in which it allows for unprecedented communication and information flow. This thesis examines how the construction of online identities on SN Ss is negotiated in the context of a world highly shaped by interconnected digital networks. Amongst populations in which access to digital resources such as the internet and SNSs is constrained by economic, social and cultural resources, some privileged groups have predominant access to and knowledge of these innovations. Analysing the cultural practices of Mexicans users on these sites reveals how relatively privileged users assemble and interconnect their online identities and make cultural, social and economic distinctions based on representations in the form of multimedia content shared and viewed. This work takes a critical position towards the use of representation in SNS communication and how this is related to the creation of distinctions and discriminatory practices. As a result this thesis contributes to social and cultural studies as well as towards contemporary analysis of internet use and identity construction.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available