Performing Cyborgian Identity: Enacting Agential Cuts in Second Life

  • Ulrike Schultze
Conference paper
Part of the IFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology book series (IFIPAICT, volume 489)


As people live their lives online more and more, they increasingly rely on digital bodies to extend their senses and to perform identities. With this hybridization of physical and digital embodiments, they become cyborgs and are compelled to negotiate the dualistic space defined by the binary opposition of actual and virtual reality. Whereas actuality typically connotes concrete existence, virtuality signifies phenomena that are ideal, essential and unrealized but that have actual effects.

This paper seeks to understand how individuals negotiate the liminal space that combines virtual and actual reality, especially as it relates to their sense of self, in their performance of cyborgian identities. Drawing on Boland’s [1] Engine of Inquiry and Barad’s [2] agential cuts as a conceptual infrastructure, this paper analyzes one identity performance of a single Second Life user in order to answer the following research question: How are cyborgian identities enacted in virtual worlds?


Performative identity Material-discursive practice Virtuality Actuality Cyborg Avatar Second Life 


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Copyright information

© IFIP International Federation for Information Processing 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Southern Methodist UniversityDallasUSA

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