Abstract of paper on Foucault and the Internet

Greetings, fellow Foucauldians! I've just joined the group, and by way of
introduction I thought I would post the abstract of my most recent paper on
Foucault. Anyone who would like a copy of the whole thing is perfectly welcome
to have it -- just send me a private email and I'll send it by email.


Alan Aycock ("aycock@xxxxxxxxxxx")
Professor of Anthropology
University of Lethbridge
Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada


"Technologies of the Self:"
Foucault and Internet Discourse

While some have argued that computing via the Internet offers a
vision of freedom and a shared humanity, others have claimed with
equal vehemence that it may become the instrument of global
surveillance and personal alienation. Foucault's notion of the
ethic of self-care (souci de soi) exemplifies both sides of this
debate, since self-fashioning strategies may either be imposed or
freely chosen. I use instances of recent postings to the Usenet
news group rec.games.chess to analyze each of the four components
of Foucault's model. Key aspects of self-care online are
identified as romantic and modernist images of ethical substance,
the importance of maintaining a middle distance or "cool" mode of
subjection to the discipline of chess, the value of factual and
technical postings as ethical labor designed to improve skill or
strength, and the purchase, use, and discussion surrounding chess
computers and computer-related goods as icons of mastery.
Finally, I consider some implications of this Foucauldian
approach for understanding ethical self-care on the Internet.


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