Apr 5, 2010
The two articles this week focused in on the presence and scope of race and identity on the internet. Jones’ article took an in depth sociological journey through the idea of ethnicity throughout history and applied it today’s information society. What he saw was that in this age of globalization ethnicity is more constructed than ever before and less grounded in space and time. Jones argues that identity is no longer, “pertained to an original, pure ethnicity” because, “globalism impels us to conceive a new localism affected by the grace of the link with others” (105) Identity used to be something that grouped people together and formed boundaries, but now identity is able to cross boundaries and connect people from around the world. It takes a more deliberate structure by learning from others around us, “it becomes a moment of self-construction through the other” because the access to various ideas are available and constantly in contact with each other. A major question raised in this article was the legitimacy or true idea of virtual identity and what implications it may have or not have on society. What I got out of the whole argument was that identity being placed in the virtual sphere (the loss of physical face to face contact) is a distinction from the modern and postmodern views of history and identity because like the postmodern view, the narrator has more autonomy on his own history, but with in influx of new technologies the indivudal memory has the ability to be woven into the ,”ephemeral film of current events” (195). This again makes identity more individualized.
What I found most convincing about his article was the notion that different ethnic groups (he used Jews for the most part) have the ability to connect and grow stronger through the internet because the ebb and flow of ideas is much smoother. Since a lot of religion is about ideas and converting and relating ancient texts to modern day life, the internet can be seen as perfect support tool for people with the same interest groups and this interaction creates a working definition of one’s own identity through the natural process of contradiction.
McLelland’s article focused on the idea of race on the internet, and more specifically on the Japanese web circuit which is seen to be its own milleu because of the concentration of the language in Japan. The author makes a clear distinction from the idea of race on the Japanese circuit and it a phenomeon that is rarely studied. It primarily concerns the pureness of one’s blood and the issue to where one was born. This issue of race here can’t really be seen too much in face to face contact because many outsiders (Koreans) have assimilated so well into every day living and there is no clear economically disadvantage between the majority or minority groups. It is seen as a major topic in chat rooms like 2-chnneru. However since the chartroom is primarily used by just the country of Japan, the ideas of race follow a very pro-pure-blood-Japanese stance and primarily just denigrates Japan’s immediate neighbors.
It seems to be that with the distinct separation from language the flow Japanese ideas of race would not go through as much contradiction compared to larger more disperse language groups. Frequently I find myself on Japanese websites for illegal tv-show-watching, but I obviously have no idea what is being said around me in the comment and advertisements. This article really opened my eyes because I though race was something that was overcome through the internet because you could join without a face, but that might be an idea that only works with the Western idea of race which is constantly being contested and shaped but interactions with various ethnicities and countries,