ISSN: 23979704
First published in 2010
2 issues per volume
Volume 2 Issue 2
Cover Date: October 2012
Reclaiming meaning across platforms: Fragmentation and expansion of the self
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Authors:  Blanka Earhart 
DOI: 10.1386/mvcr.2.2.125_1

becoming-animal,Body without Organs,electronic media,expansion,fragmentation,identity,self,subject

While the rapidly changing digital and cultural environment provides expanded perspective on human identity, the available choices often undermine subjectivity and singular coherence. The resulting sense of psychological fragmentation and renouncement of personal agency haunts the digital and analogue selves. The inability to recognize oneself in the many representations leads to a disassociation akin to one expressed in the myth of Narcissus. In response, some of the late twentiethcentury thinkers theorized a new kind of expanded identity. In this article, I compare Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s concept of ‘becoming-animal’ to the functionality of a World Wide Web user in order to examine the extent of erosion of the singular subject as the main vehicle for the sense of self. Furthermore, I demonstrate how ‘becoming-animal’ echoes Marshall McLuhan’s digital Narcissus and results in an implosion of the self, thus failing to be a workable model. In conclusion, I propose that Jean-Luc Nancy’s concept of ‘being singular plural’ offers a possible resolution of the polarity between self as a collectivity expanded through digital media and self as a sovereign entity.
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