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Persona Studies? A debate about how a new field assists the exploration of the public, private, mediatized, strategic, and collective constitutions of online culture
P David Marshall1, Kim Barbour2, Christopher Moore3, Neil Henderson1, Teresa Senft4
1Deakin University, Australia; 2Adelaide University; 3University of Wollongong; 4Macquarie University
Over the last 10 years, Persona Studies has emerged as a field of study related to investigations of online culture, identity, and authenticity. The key element of this field is the concept and value of persona – a strategic mask designed to allow individuals to negotiate their play in collective spaces – which has been identified and studied since ancient times, but has been amplified with the development of internet technologies. With persona defined as neither individual nor collective, but a way to move from the individual into collective space, it has been enriched as a concept in its exploration of the various domains of online culture. Drawing on articles published in the now 5 year-old journal called Persona Studies, articles and book chapters related to the field appearing in other academic publications in game culture, media studies, celebrity studies, cultural studies, literary studies and political science, and the recent release of the first definitive book entitled Persona Studies: An Introduction (John Wiley & Sons), this fishbowl will debate the value of the Persona Studies approach in exploration of online culture’s particular mix of public, private, personal and intimate registers by its users on different platforms. The value of persona studies’ new terminology to describe online culture – with terms such as intercommunication, presentational media, registers of performance, and micropublics – as well as its integration of more familiar concepts - such as surveillance, sous-veillance, the dividual, and paratexts - will be explored in discussion of how it can be further integrated into Internet research effectively and valuably. The debate will be led by some of the seminal researchers in Persona Studies and current online identity.
Marshall, P David, Kim Barbour, and Chris Moore. (2019) Persona Studies: An Introduction (Blackwell Wiley)
Persona Studies Journal. 2015 - . Online: https://ojs.deakin.edu.au/index.php/ps