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Have I become what I beheld? Identity enactments as the hidden Other in a Virtual World

Rappa, Natasha Anne (2015) Have I become what I beheld? Identity enactments as the hidden Other in a Virtual World. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

My study explores the enactments of adolescents who took on an avatar depicting a member of a marginalised group or a hidden Other in a three-dimensional virtual environment known as Second Life. I chose to examine people with disabilities as a case of the hidden Other in acknowledgement of extant social realities in the Singapore context where people with disabilities tend to be marginalised. I discover how my able-bodied participants’ enactments reflect various ways in which they identified or did not identify with the hidden Other within their discourse; I analyse the processes by which people are alienated and integrated, I investigate shifts in identification using an identification framework I developed and I trace individual trajectories of group affiliations. I also examine the affordances and limitations of Virtual Worlds for facilitating vicarious living experiences and the role of critical literacy and dramatic techniques in affording agency in identifications. I draw evidence primarily from video recordings of the role-plays within Second Life which I supplement with evidence from semi-structured interviews and various written artefacts. I present my findings largely in the form of case studies to shed light on discursive processes, moves and trajectories in relation to representation, power and affiliations. I evaluate my curricular interventions and analytical approaches and discuss their implications for future research.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > School of Education (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.643641
Depositing User: Ms Natasha Anne Rappa
Date Deposited: 14 Apr 2015 14:55
Last Modified: 03 Oct 2016 12:10
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/8654

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