Producing the self through play online

The notion of playing with identity through physical appearance is particularly evident in society. The aim of this project is to consider play as drive for the online production of self. Social media allows consumers to craft the self they present online as they effectively manage impressions others form of them. Consumers thus play with their selves, creating possible imagined alternative selves. Such play further allows for detachment of the harsh realities of life, giving control over the particular play experience to otherwise constrained consumers. The freedom of this form of play is enjoyed at a relatively low financial cost. However, there is a price to pay based on the sacrifice of privacy of the self. With play as a motive, yet parting with traditional principles of play (such as a safe environment), what are the implications for society? If the self is produced as a commodity to share, there’s a responsibility to better understand this form of human objectification. What type of experiences result from producing the self through play online? These are some of the questions driving the inquiry.

Project leader(s):
  • Liezl-Marié van der Westhuizen (Department of Marketing Management, University of Pretoria)

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