Keywords

Avatars, online role playing game, characters, kenneth burke, online identities

Abstract

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.

Notes

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Graduation Date

2013

Semester

Summer

Advisor

Pigg, Stacey

Degree

Master of Arts (M.A.)

College

College of Arts and Humanities

Department

Writing and Rhetoric

Degree Program

English; Rhetoric and Composition

Format

application/pdf

Identifier

CFE0004807

URL

http://purl.fcla.edu/fcla/etd/CFE0004807

Language

English

Release Date

August 2013

Length of Campus-only Access

None

Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)

Subjects

Arts and Humanities -- Dissertations, Academic, Dissertations, Academic -- Arts and Humanities

Restricted to the UCF community until August 2013; it will then be open access.

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