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Title: Pervading binaries, disrupting boundaries: Investigating youth’s negotiation of the dialectical interplay of offline and online identities
Authors: Azilawati Jamaludin
Chee, Yam San
Tan, Ek Ming
Keywords: Youth
Virtual worlds
Online worlds
Issue Date: 2009
Citation: Paper presented at the 17th International Conference on Computers in Education (ICCE 2009), Hong Kong, 30 November to 4 December 2009
Abstract: This paper investigates the digital migration of Singapore youth to virtual worlds so as to better understand the dialectical interplay between living in the real and the digitally-mediated worlds on how youth construct their identity and sense of self, negotiate meaning, and make sense of their social experiences online. Situating this study within a context of the immensely popular MMORPG, World of Warcraft (WoW), this paper proposes the notion of a performing cyborg as a theoretical lens of looking at the interplay between the everyday, situated lives of digital youth gamers and their activities in WoW. The findings suggest a recurrent theme that challenges ascribed dichotomies between youth’s presence in the real world and virtual world in terms of their identities in play, their sense of embodiment, and their orientation toward work, play, and the spirit of communitas within WoW. We posit that exploration of such a phenomenon that indicates a more intimately enmeshed and dialectically coupled experience of youths’ online and offline worlds provides a fundamental framework for educators to better understand the impact of youths’ exodus to the virtual worlds and its implications for 21st century pedagogy. To this end, this work will strengthen current efforts in augmenting an understanding of the broader learning ecologies within which youth learning activities are situated, illuminating the interplay between youth living in the real and the digitally-mediated virtual world.
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