Academic home pages: Reconstruction of the self

Lesley Thoms, Mike Thelwall

Abstract



Previous literature within the postmodern movement typically finds the Internet to be a tool for surveillance and restriction. This is particularly identified in the personal homepages of academics, where the university is considered to marginalise staff through the coercive governing of their identity construction. Using a Foucauldian framework in which to analyse twenty academic homepages, this study looks specifically at identity construction on the Internet via the differences of link inclusion between academics whose homepages have been university–constructed and those whose homepages have been self–constructed, both dependent and independent of the university site. A Foucauldian discourse analysis identifies the marginalisation of academics in all conditions, wherein discursive positions were typically those of disempowerment. A typology of homepages and hence identities of academics is proposed based on the Web sites examined, concluding that whether the homepage is constructed by the academic or by the university, the identities of the individual are ultimately lost to the governmentality of the university.


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5210/fm.v10i12.1302



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