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Self-Games and Body-Play

Personhood in Online Chat and Cybersex

Series:

Dennis D. Waskul

One of the most fascinating dimensions of online chat and cybersex are the ways that their medium, the Internet, allows people to reconfigure relationships between self, body, and social interaction. Online chat participants discursively write a self into existence in a disembodied medium that allows for extreme fluidity and multiplicity; cybersex participants evoke bodies in words and images, manipulating relationships between selfhood and the corporeal body. Perhaps never before have so many people been actively involved in social psychological experiments in which they redefine themselves in ways that are so distinctively at the cutting edge of important social and cultural transformations. Based on over 150 interviews with online chat and cybersex participants, Self-Games and Body-Play is an empirically grounded analysis of how these unique experiences provide a lens for better understanding the nature of personhood in everyday life.