Avatars, online role playing game, characters, kenneth burke, online identities
This project responds to a problem in scholarship describing the relationship between virtual avatars and their physical users. In Life on the Screen, Sherry Turkle identifies points of slippage wherein the persona of the avatar becomes conflated with the user‘s sense of self to create an authentic self predicated on both real and virtual experiences (Turkle 184-5). Although the conflation of the authentic self with the virtual has provided various affordances for serious games or other pedagogical projects such as classrooms hosted through the game Second Life, the processes enabling identification with an avatar have been largely overlooked. This project examines several layers of influence that affect how users play with identity to create successful social performances within an online community connected to a work of fiction. In doing so, the user must consider his or her own motivations for creating a persona, how these motivations will allow the avatar to achieve social acceptance, and how these social performances connect to the scene created by the work of fiction. Using an online role-playing forum based on a work of fiction as a site of analysis, this project will borrow from game studies, dramatism, and identity theory to create a framework for discussing processes through which users identify with their virtual avatars.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Writing and Rhetoric
English; Rhetoric and Composition
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Arts and Humanities -- Dissertations, Academic, Dissertations, Academic -- Arts and Humanities
Andrews, Pamela, "Avatar And Self: A Rhetoric Of Identity Mediated Through Collaborative Role-play" (2013). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 2598.