Did my presentation yesterday, we presented alphabetically, so I was second… I was not as formally prepared as some of my colleagues, but I was quite happy with how it went. My goal (and inner argument) was that I should not have to ‘prepare’ something formal to tell people what my research is. I have been working on different parts of the same research for the last four years. At first, there were a few puzzled looks, as I stated that identity (in my research world) is a process and not a thing (or label); that which is between interacting nodes of a network. For my colleagues, this defintion may have come off a bit strange considering that at the beginning of the semester, we discussed the concept of identity as a box; a definition; a limitting label. I don’t disagree with this form of definition, it is just not how I am working with the term. I was asked why I continue to use the word identity, if that is not what I mean by it (exactly). Thanks to my undergraduate honours thesis which explored the various definitions of identity across several disciplines in relation to video games, I feel that it is ok to use a word even though it has an ‘ambiguous meaning. As iterated by a good friend last night, people have been using words outside their strict definitions for eons – and as long as I am able to iterate my context that will lend to my specialized version of meaning, then it should be ok.
Also, I want to thank my colleague Dominic for giving me a word that I am just itching to use – pentalectic. Isn’t it fabulous! One of my key theories is that identity construction and maintenance in mmorpg’s (as a case study to exemplify other types of digitally mediated identity) is a “5-point” relationship (msg me for details if interested heh) compared to the traditiona symbolic interactionist self-other ‘two-way’ relationship. I have always used “5-point” to describe what I am talking about – and just yesterday Dominic threw out the term pentalectic and I was elated. Then this morning, I found this great paper on terminology. Wish I could print it out – but ink is running low … anywho. All this to say that it was a good exercise, to be able to explain what it is I am doing without a formal presentation. I am trying to practice ‘riffing’ with direction and purpose. It is a skill indeed! It has also inspired me to work a bit on the direction I am heading. That, coupled with the 15 page methodology paper/presentation I have to give on my thesis topic for March 26th should help solidify my direction a but more.