The Body As Post-Process: Representing Identity and Body in Online Communities
This panel weaves post-process theory to discuss how users co-opt online spaces to empower and rewrite their identities. According to Zhao, Grasmuck, and Martin (2008), identities are reinforced, not simply constructed, within online spaces. The presenters, through empirical research, grapple with how online platforms can create opportunities for communicating and reinforcing identities, and how such opportunities are rife with constraints in terms of effectively demonstrating agency, even when a physical body is absent. Composing in online spaces facilitates affordances of wonder, reflection, and refinement of the body. Presenters’ findings contend these moves in online spaces lead to empowerment of previously unvoiced/underrepresented users.