"Online, I didn't have a problem talking": the empowering role of virtual worlds

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractResearch

Abstract

The allure of virtual worlds to adolescents is still somewhat of a mystery to adults. The ability to meet up with friends via a video game or the use of multiple social media accounts – one monitored by parents, another solely for friends to view (as observed by boyd, 2014) – are just some of the ways adolescents use virtual worlds to experiment with and develop their own subjectivities. Technology continues to be perceived by adults as disconnecting adolescents from the real world, yet technology provides adolescents with access to multiple (virtual) worlds, all of which have the potential to inform their real world existence. It is the voice discovered in the virtual world that empowers the individual in the real world. In contemporary dystopian fiction for young adults, virtual worlds function as what Foucault identified as ‘heterotopic spaces’ (1986). In dystopian narratives depicting virtual worlds, an individual may enter such a space to challenge the hierarchies that have constrained them in the real world. Virtual worlds are represented as offering intangible spaces for the developing subject to engage in identity-experimentation that informs their identity-formation. The representation of such spaces in Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One reflects the different trends and tensions in contemporary young adult dystopian fiction. The tension between the positive possibilities of technology and the fear of the impact technology is having on the way in which we connect with one another is represented in the novel. Technology and its development of virtual spaces enables the developing subject to engage in identity-formation in ways that physical spaces in the ‘real’ world do not. In Ready Player One, Wade’s experiences in the virtual world are integral to his maturation and identity-formation. It is in the virtual world that the developing subject may wear an identity – or several identities – which enables the interrogation and development of a real-world subjectivity. Drawing on Foucault’s concept of heterotopic spaces, I posit that, for some adolescents, there is little difference between offline and online life; rather, virtual worlds function to empower the developing subject and encourage the construction of a posthuman subjectivity. Virtual worlds give adolescents a voice, and a space to use that voice, which ultimately echoes in the real world.

Conference

ConferenceInternational Research Society for Children's Literature
CountrySweden
CityStockholm
Period14/08/1918/08/19
Internet address

Fingerprint

adolescent
identity formation
subjectivity
young adult
computer game
social media
parents
anxiety
narrative
experiment
ability
trend
experience

Cite this

Thompson, S. (2019). "Online, I didn't have a problem talking": the empowering role of virtual worlds. Abstract from International Research Society for Children's Literature, Stockholm, Sweden.
Thompson, Stephanie. / "Online, I didn't have a problem talking" : the empowering role of virtual worlds. Abstract from International Research Society for Children's Literature, Stockholm, Sweden.
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abstract = "The allure of virtual worlds to adolescents is still somewhat of a mystery to adults. The ability to meet up with friends via a video game or the use of multiple social media accounts – one monitored by parents, another solely for friends to view (as observed by boyd, 2014) – are just some of the ways adolescents use virtual worlds to experiment with and develop their own subjectivities. Technology continues to be perceived by adults as disconnecting adolescents from the real world, yet technology provides adolescents with access to multiple (virtual) worlds, all of which have the potential to inform their real world existence. It is the voice discovered in the virtual world that empowers the individual in the real world. In contemporary dystopian fiction for young adults, virtual worlds function as what Foucault identified as ‘heterotopic spaces’ (1986). In dystopian narratives depicting virtual worlds, an individual may enter such a space to challenge the hierarchies that have constrained them in the real world. Virtual worlds are represented as offering intangible spaces for the developing subject to engage in identity-experimentation that informs their identity-formation. The representation of such spaces in Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One reflects the different trends and tensions in contemporary young adult dystopian fiction. The tension between the positive possibilities of technology and the fear of the impact technology is having on the way in which we connect with one another is represented in the novel. Technology and its development of virtual spaces enables the developing subject to engage in identity-formation in ways that physical spaces in the ‘real’ world do not. In Ready Player One, Wade’s experiences in the virtual world are integral to his maturation and identity-formation. It is in the virtual world that the developing subject may wear an identity – or several identities – which enables the interrogation and development of a real-world subjectivity. Drawing on Foucault’s concept of heterotopic spaces, I posit that, for some adolescents, there is little difference between offline and online life; rather, virtual worlds function to empower the developing subject and encourage the construction of a posthuman subjectivity. Virtual worlds give adolescents a voice, and a space to use that voice, which ultimately echoes in the real world.",
author = "Stephanie Thompson",
year = "2019",
language = "English",
note = "International Research Society for Children's Literature ; Conference date: 14-08-2019 Through 18-08-2019",
url = "http://www.irsclcongress2019.com/",

}

Thompson, S 2019, '"Online, I didn't have a problem talking": the empowering role of virtual worlds' International Research Society for Children's Literature, Stockholm, Sweden, 14/08/19 - 18/08/19, .

"Online, I didn't have a problem talking" : the empowering role of virtual worlds. / Thompson, Stephanie.

2019. Abstract from International Research Society for Children's Literature, Stockholm, Sweden.

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractResearch

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T1 - "Online, I didn't have a problem talking"

T2 - the empowering role of virtual worlds

AU - Thompson, Stephanie

PY - 2019

Y1 - 2019

N2 - The allure of virtual worlds to adolescents is still somewhat of a mystery to adults. The ability to meet up with friends via a video game or the use of multiple social media accounts – one monitored by parents, another solely for friends to view (as observed by boyd, 2014) – are just some of the ways adolescents use virtual worlds to experiment with and develop their own subjectivities. Technology continues to be perceived by adults as disconnecting adolescents from the real world, yet technology provides adolescents with access to multiple (virtual) worlds, all of which have the potential to inform their real world existence. It is the voice discovered in the virtual world that empowers the individual in the real world. In contemporary dystopian fiction for young adults, virtual worlds function as what Foucault identified as ‘heterotopic spaces’ (1986). In dystopian narratives depicting virtual worlds, an individual may enter such a space to challenge the hierarchies that have constrained them in the real world. Virtual worlds are represented as offering intangible spaces for the developing subject to engage in identity-experimentation that informs their identity-formation. The representation of such spaces in Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One reflects the different trends and tensions in contemporary young adult dystopian fiction. The tension between the positive possibilities of technology and the fear of the impact technology is having on the way in which we connect with one another is represented in the novel. Technology and its development of virtual spaces enables the developing subject to engage in identity-formation in ways that physical spaces in the ‘real’ world do not. In Ready Player One, Wade’s experiences in the virtual world are integral to his maturation and identity-formation. It is in the virtual world that the developing subject may wear an identity – or several identities – which enables the interrogation and development of a real-world subjectivity. Drawing on Foucault’s concept of heterotopic spaces, I posit that, for some adolescents, there is little difference between offline and online life; rather, virtual worlds function to empower the developing subject and encourage the construction of a posthuman subjectivity. Virtual worlds give adolescents a voice, and a space to use that voice, which ultimately echoes in the real world.

AB - The allure of virtual worlds to adolescents is still somewhat of a mystery to adults. The ability to meet up with friends via a video game or the use of multiple social media accounts – one monitored by parents, another solely for friends to view (as observed by boyd, 2014) – are just some of the ways adolescents use virtual worlds to experiment with and develop their own subjectivities. Technology continues to be perceived by adults as disconnecting adolescents from the real world, yet technology provides adolescents with access to multiple (virtual) worlds, all of which have the potential to inform their real world existence. It is the voice discovered in the virtual world that empowers the individual in the real world. In contemporary dystopian fiction for young adults, virtual worlds function as what Foucault identified as ‘heterotopic spaces’ (1986). In dystopian narratives depicting virtual worlds, an individual may enter such a space to challenge the hierarchies that have constrained them in the real world. Virtual worlds are represented as offering intangible spaces for the developing subject to engage in identity-experimentation that informs their identity-formation. The representation of such spaces in Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One reflects the different trends and tensions in contemporary young adult dystopian fiction. The tension between the positive possibilities of technology and the fear of the impact technology is having on the way in which we connect with one another is represented in the novel. Technology and its development of virtual spaces enables the developing subject to engage in identity-formation in ways that physical spaces in the ‘real’ world do not. In Ready Player One, Wade’s experiences in the virtual world are integral to his maturation and identity-formation. It is in the virtual world that the developing subject may wear an identity – or several identities – which enables the interrogation and development of a real-world subjectivity. Drawing on Foucault’s concept of heterotopic spaces, I posit that, for some adolescents, there is little difference between offline and online life; rather, virtual worlds function to empower the developing subject and encourage the construction of a posthuman subjectivity. Virtual worlds give adolescents a voice, and a space to use that voice, which ultimately echoes in the real world.

M3 - Abstract

ER -

Thompson S. "Online, I didn't have a problem talking": the empowering role of virtual worlds. 2019. Abstract from International Research Society for Children's Literature, Stockholm, Sweden.