Ethics and Information Technology

, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp 19–25 | Cite as

Shrinking selves in synthetic sites: On personhood in a Walt Disney World

  • Charles W. Harvey
  • Carol Zibell


In this essay we show how certain tendencies of theself are enhanced and hindered by technologicallyorganized places. We coordinate a cognitive andbehavioral technology for the control of personalidentity with the technologically totalizedenvironments that we call “synthetic sites.” Weproceed by describing Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi'sstrategy for intensifying experience and organizingthe self. Walt Disney World is then considered as theexample, par excellence, of a synthetic sitethat promotes ordered experience via self-shrinkage. Finally, we reflect briefly on problems andpossibilities of human life lived in a world that canbe described with increasing accuracy as “anarchipelago of synthetic sites.”

Csikszentmihalyi self self-shrinkage synthetic sites 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles W. Harvey
    • 1
  • Carol Zibell
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Philosophy and ReligionUniversity of Central ArkansasUSA.
  2. 2.CDIIBMTucsonUSA.

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