Advertisement

Comic Theory: A New, Critical, Adaptive Theoretical Framework for Identity Presentation

  • Harry T. Dyer
Chapter
Part of the Cultural Studies and Transdisciplinarity in Education book series (CSTE, volume 11)

Abstract

Through a sustained engagement with sociological theories of identity and the social, this chapter builds the case for a new theoretical approach to considering identity presentation online. This chapter begins by exploring previous sociological approaches toward identity, specifically focusing upon Goffman’s work around the performative nature of identity. The chapter then progresses to discuss the work of Foucault in understanding the manner in which Discourse shapes our social experiences, before moving on to discuss Actor-Network Theory as an approach for understand the social beyond a focus on human influences alone. Finally, Barad’s work around agential realism is introduced as an approach that allows for an understanding of the ways in which humans and non-humans negotiate the boundaries of the social world in an ongoing manner. It is suggested that a frame is needed that brings these four approaches together, and as such, the chapter takes one final turn towards considering Comic Book Studies as a field of research which allows for a detailed look at narrative construction between socio-culturally bound readers and specifically designed media.

Using this as a frame, this chapter proposes and introduces Comic Theory as a new framework to understand identity performances online as an ongoing platform-specific negotiation between user and design.

Keywords

Comic Theory Actor-Network Theory Latour Foucault Post-structuralism Discourse Barad Agential realism Goffman Identity performance Identity negotiation 

References

  1. Abidin, C. (2016). “Aren’t these just young, rich women doing vain things online?”: Influencer selfies as subversive frivolity. Social Media + Society, 2016, 1–17.Google Scholar
  2. Ahmed, S. (2006). Queer phenomenology: Orientations, objects, others. London: Duke University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bakhtin, M. M. (1981). The dialogic imagination (C. Emerson, M. Holquist, & M. Holquist, Trans.). Austin: University of Texas Press.Google Scholar
  4. Barad, K. (2003). Posthumanist performativity: Toward an understanding of how matter comes to matter. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 28(3), 801–831.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Barad, K. (2007). Meeting the universe halfway: Quantum physics and the entanglement of matter and meaning. London: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Barad, K. (2011). Nature’s queer performativity. Qui Parle: Critical Humanities and Social Sciences, 19(2), 121–158.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Barnes, R. (2015). Understanding the affective investment produced through commenting on Australian alternative journalism website New Matilda. New Media & Society, 17(5), 810–826.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bennett, D. J., & Bennett, J. B. (1981). Making the scene. In A. Furnham & M. Argyle (Eds.), The psychology of social situations: Selected readings (pp. 18–25). Oxford: Pergamon.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Berlatsky, E. (2009). Lost in the gutter: Within and between frames in narrative and narrative theory. Narrative, 17(2), 162–187.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bertel, T. F. (2016). ‘Why would you want to know?’ The reluctant use of location sharing via check-ins on Facebook among Danish youth. Convergence, 22(2), 162–176.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bongco, M. (2000). Reading comics: Language, culture, and the concept of the superhero in comic books. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  12. Bordo, S. (1993). Feminism, Foucault and the politics of the body. In C. Ramazanoglu (Ed.), Up against Foucault: Explorations of some tensions between Foucault and feminism (pp. 179–202). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  13. Bosco, F. J. (2006). Actor-network theory, networks, and relational approaches in human geography. Approaches to human geography, 136–146.Google Scholar
  14. boyd, D. (2014). It’s complicated: The social lives of networked teens. New Haven: Yale Press.Google Scholar
  15. boyd, D. (2015). Social media: A phenomenon to be analyzed. Social Media + Society, 2015, 1–2.Google Scholar
  16. Brissett, D., & Edgley, C. (Eds.). (2005). Life as theater: A dramaturgical sourcebook (2nd ed.). London: Transaction Publishers.Google Scholar
  17. Buckingham, D. (2008). Youth, identity, and digital media. Boston: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  18. Bullingham, L., & Vasconcelos, A. C. (2013). ‘The presentation of self in the online world’: Goffman and the study of online identities. Journal of Information Science, 39(1), 101–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Burns, T. (1992). Erving Goffman. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  20. Callon, M. (1984). Some elements of a sociology of translation: Domestication of the scallops and the fishermen of St Brieuc Bay. The Sociological Review, 32, 196–233.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Callon, M. (1986). The sociology of an actor-network: The case of the electric vehicle. In M. Callon, J. Law, & A. Rip (Eds.), Mapping the dynamics of science and technology (pp. 19–34). London: Palgrave.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Callon, M. (1987). Society in the making: The study of technology as a tool for sociological analysis. In W. E. Bijker, T. P. Hughes, & T. J. Pinch (Eds.), The social construction of technological systems: New directions in the sociology and history of technology (pp. 83–106). London: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  23. Callon, M. (1991). Techno-economic networks and irreversibility. In J. Law (Ed.), A sociology of monsters: Essays on power, technology and domination. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  24. Castree, N. (2002). False antitheses? Marxism, nature and actor-networks. Antipode, 34(1), 111–146.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Chopra-Gant, M. (2016). Pictures or it didn’t happen: Photo-nostalgia, iPhoneography and the representation of everyday life. Photography and Culture, 9(2), 121–133.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Chute, H. L., & DeKoven, M. (2006). Introduction: Graphic narrative. Modern Fiction Studies, 52(4), 767–782.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Clarke, S. (2008). Culture and identity. The Sage Handbook of Cultural Analysis, 510–529.Google Scholar
  28. Cohn, N. (2013). The visual language of comics: Introduction to the structure and cognition of sequential images. London: Bloomsbury.Google Scholar
  29. Collins, H., & Yearley, S. (1992). Epistemological chicken. In A. Pickerin (Ed.), Science as practice and culture (pp. 301–326). Chicago: Chicago University Press.Google Scholar
  30. Couldry, N. (2012). Media, society, world: Social theory and digital media practice. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  31. Crampton, J. W., & Elden, S. (Eds.). (2007). Space, knowledge and power: Foucault and geography. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  32. Dale, K., & Latham, Y. (2015). Ethics and entangled embodiment: Bodies–materialities–organization. Organization, 22(2), 166–182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Davis, J. L. (2016). Identity theory in a digital age. In J. E. Stets & R. T. Serpe (Eds.), New directions in identity theory and research (pp. 137–164). Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Dee, M. (2015). Young people and urban public space in Australia-creating pathways to community, belonging and inclusion. International Journal of Social Science Research, 3(2), 138–151.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Dittmer, J., & Latham, A. (2015). The rut and the gutter: Space and time in graphic narrative. Cultural Geographies, 22(3), 427–444.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Ditchfield, H. (2020). Behind the screen of Facebook: Identity construction in the rehearsal stage of online interaction. New Media & Society, 22(6), 927–943.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Dolwick, J. S. (2009). “The social” and beyond: Introducing actor-network theory. Journal of Maritime Archaeology, 4(1), 21–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Dyer, H. T. (2015). All the web’s a stage: The effects of design and modality on youth performances of identity. Sociological Studies of Children and Youth: Technology and Youth: Growing Up in a Digital World, 19, 213–242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Dyer, H. T. (2016). Interactivity, social media, and Superman: How comic books can help us understand and conceptualize interactivity online. In J. Daniels, K. Gregory, & T. McMillan Cottom (Eds.), Digital Sociologies (pp. 75–99). London: Policy.Google Scholar
  40. Farías, I., & Bender, T. (2010). Urban assemblages: How actor-network theory changes urban studies. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  41. Fenwick, T., & Edwards, R. (2010). Actor-network theory in education. Oxford: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Fenwick, T., & Edwards, R. (2013). Performative ontologies. Sociomaterial approaches to researching adult education and lifelong learning. European Journal for Research on the Education and Learning of Adults, 4(1), 49–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Fine, B. (2005). From actor-network theory to political economy. Capitalism Nature Socialism, 16(4), 91–108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Foucault, M. (1977). Discipline and punish: The birth of the prison. New York: Vintage.Google Scholar
  45. Foucault, M. (1980). Power/knowledge: Selected interviews and other writings, 1972–1977. New York: Vintage.Google Scholar
  46. Foucault, M. (1993). Space, power and knowledge. In S. During (Ed.), The cultural studies reader. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  47. Gieryn, T. F. (2000). A space for place in sociology. Annual Review of Sociology, 26(1), 463–496.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Gilmore, J. N., & Stork, M. (2014). Superhero synergies: Comic book characters go digital. Plymouth: Rowman & Littlefield.Google Scholar
  49. Gilpin, D. R. (2010). Working the Twittersphere: Microblogging as professional identity construction. In A networked self (pp. 240–258). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  50. Goffman, E. (1959). The presentation of self in everyday life. Allen Lane.Google Scholar
  51. Goffman, E. (1964). The neglected situation. American Anthropologist, 66(6), 133–136.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Goffman, E. (1968). Stigma: Notes on the management of spoiled identity. London: Pelican.Google Scholar
  53. Goffman, E. (1974). Frame analysis: An essay on the organization of experience. Boston: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  54. Gonos, G. (1977). “Situation” versus “frame”: The “interactionist” and the “structuralist” analyses of everyday life. American Sociological Review, 42(6), 854–867.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Goonewardena, K., Kipfer, S., Milgrom, R., & Schmid, C. (Eds.). (2008). Space, difference, everyday life: Reading Henri Lefebvre. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  56. Gouldner, A. W. (1970). The coming crisis of Western sociology. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  57. Groensteen, T. (2013). Comics and narration (A. Miller, Trans.). Jackson: University Press of Mississippi.Google Scholar
  58. Hacking, I. (2004). Between Michel Foucault and Erving Goffman: Between discourse in the abstract and face-to-face interaction. Economy and Society, 33(3), 277–302.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Hendricks, C. (2008). Foucault’s Kantian critique philosophy and the present. Philosophy & Social Criticism, 34(4), 357–382.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Herman, D. (2010). Multimodal storytelling and identity construction in graphic narratives. In D. Schiffrin, A. De Fina, & A. Nylund (Eds.), Telling stories: Language, narrative, and social life (pp. 195–208). Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press.Google Scholar
  61. Herzig, R. (2004). On performance, productivity, and vocabularies of motive in recent studies of science. Feminist Theory, 5(2), 127–147.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Hogan, B. (2010). The presentation of self in the age of social media: Distinguishing performances & exhibitions online. Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society, 30(6), 377–386.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Hook, D. (2005). Genealogy, discourse, “effective history”: Foucault and the work of critique. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 2(1), 3–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Højgaard, L., Juelskjær, M., & Søndergaard, D. M. (2012). The ‘WHAT OF’ and the ‘WHAT IF’ of agential realism – In search of the gendered subject. Kvinder, Køn & Forskning, (1–2), 67–78.Google Scholar
  65. Huot, S., & Rudman, D. L. (2010). The performances and places of identity: Conceptualizing intersections of occupation, identity and place in the process of migration. Journal of Occupational Science, 17(2), 68–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Jenkins, R. (2014). Social identity (4th ed.). Oxford: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Juelskjaer, M. (2013). Gendered subjectivities of space time matter. Gender and Education, 25(6), 754–768.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Jurgenson, N. (2012). When atoms meet bits: Social media, the mobile web and augmented revolution. Future Internet, 4, 83–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Kaiser, B. M., & Thiele, K. (2014). Diffraction: Onto-epistemology, quantum physics and the critical humanities. Parallax, 20(3), 165–167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Kietzmann, J. H., Hermkens, K., McCarthy, I. P., & Silvestre, B. S. (2011). Social media? Get serious! Understanding the functional building blocks of social media. Business Horizons, 54(3), 241–251.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Kowert, R., Domahidi, E., & Quandt, T. (2016). Networking and other social aspects of technology use: Past developments, present impact, and future considerations. In D. Faust, K. Faust, & M. N. Potenza (Eds.), Oxford handbook of digital technologies and mental health. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  72. Latour, B. (1990). Technology is society made durable. The Sociological Review, 38(1), 103–131.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Latour, B. (1996). On actor-network theory: A few clarifications. Soziale Welt, 47(4), 369–381.Google Scholar
  74. Latour, B. (1999). On recalling ANT. The Sociological Review, 47(S1), 15–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Latour, B. (2005). Reassembling the social: An introduction to actor-network-theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  76. Law, J. (1999). Actor network theory and after. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.Google Scholar
  77. Law, J. (2002). Objects and spaces. Theory, Culture & Society, 19(5–6), 91–105.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Law, J. (2009). Actor network theory and material semiotics. In B. S. Turner (Ed.), The new Blackwell companion to social theory (pp. 141–158). Chichester: Wiley.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Law, J., & Moser, I. (1999). Managing, subjectivities and desires. Concepts and Transformation, 4(3), 249–279.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Lefebvre, H. (1991). The production of space (D. Nicholson-Smith, Trans.). Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.Google Scholar
  81. Lefèvre, P. (2011). Some medium-specific qualities of graphic sequences. SubStance, 40(1), 14–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Lehtovuori, P. (2005). Experience and conflict: The dialectics of the production of public urban space in the light of new event venues in Helsinki 1993–2003. Helsinki: Helsinki University Press.Google Scholar
  83. Lessa, I. (2006). Discursive struggles within social welfare: Restaging teen motherhood. British Journal of Social Work, 36(2), 283–298.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Lessing, P. G. E. (1766). Laocoon: An essay on the limits of painting and poetry (P. E. A. McCormick, Trans.). Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  85. Lewis, A. D. (2010). The shape of comic book reading. Studies in Comics, 1(1), 71–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Markus, T. A., & Cameron, D. (2002). The words between the spaces: Buildings and language. London: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
  87. Marshall, Y., & Alberti, B. (2014). A matter of difference: Karen Barad, ontology and archaeological bodies. Cambridge Archaeological Journal, 24(1), 19–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  88. Martin, A. (2005). Agents in inter-action: Bruno Latour and agency. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory, 12(4), 283–311.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  89. Marwick, A. E., & boyd, D. (2011). I tweet honestly, I tweet passionately: Twitter users, context collapse, and the imagined audience. New Media & Society, 13(1), 114–133.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  90. McCloud, S. (1993). Understanding comics: The invisible art. New York: Kitchen Sink.Google Scholar
  91. McCloud, S. (2006). Making comics: Storytelling secrets of comics, manga and graphic novels. New York: William Morrow.Google Scholar
  92. McLuhan, M. (1964). Understanding media: The extensions of man. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  93. Miller, S. (1990). Foucault on discourse and power. Theoria: A Journal of Social and Political Theory, 76, 115–125.Google Scholar
  94. Miller, G., & Fox, K. J. (1997). Building bridges. In Qualitative research. Theory, method and practice (pp. 24–44). Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications Ltd.Google Scholar
  95. Murdoch, J. (1998). The spaces of actor-network theory. Geoforum, 29(4), 357–374.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  96. Mützel, S. (2009). Networks as culturally constituted processes: A comparison of relational sociology and actor-network theory. Current Sociology, 57(6), 871–887.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  97. Nash, K. (2012). Modes of interactivity: Analysing the webdoc. Media, Culture & Society, 34(2), 195–210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  98. Nguyen, N.-M. (2016). I tweet like a white person tbh! #whitewashed: Examining the language of internalized racism and the policing of ethnic identity on Twitter. Social Semiotics, 26(5), 505–523.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  99. Noble, S. U. (2018). Algorithms of oppression: How search engines reinforce racism. New York: New York University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  100. Pearson, E. (2009). All the World Wide Web’s a stage: The performance of identity in online social networks. First Monday, 14(3).Google Scholar
  101. Pennycook, A. (1994). Incommensurable discourses? Applied Linguistics, 15(2), 115–138.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  102. Perinbanayagam, R. S. (1990). How to do self with things. In S. H. Riggins (Ed.), Beyond Goffman: Studies on communication, institution, and social interaction (pp. 315–340). Berlin: de Gruyter.Google Scholar
  103. Pickering, A. (1993). The mangle of practice: Agency and emergence in the sociology of science. American Journal of Sociology, 559–589.Google Scholar
  104. Radford, G. P. (1992). Positivism, Foucault, and the fantasia of the library: Conceptions of knowledge and the modern library experience. The Library Quarterly: Information, Community, Policy, 62(4), 408–424.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  105. Richardson, T., & Jensen, O. B. (2003). Linking discourse and space: Towards a cultural sociology of space in analysing spatial policy discourses. Urban Studies, 40(1), 7–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  106. Richey, M., Ravishankar, M. N., & Coupland, C. (2016). Exploring situationally inappropriate social media posts: An impression management perspective. Information Technology and People, 29(3), 597–617.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  107. Rogers, C. R. (1961). On becoming a person: A therapist’s view of psychotherapy. Milwaukee: Houghton Mifflin.Google Scholar
  108. Round, J. (2007). Visual perspective and narrative voice in comics: Redefining literary terminology. International Journal of Comic Art, 9(2), 316–329.Google Scholar
  109. Rowse, J. (2005). Power/knowledge. In G. Gutting (Ed.), The Cambridge companion to Foucault. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  110. Rubin, J. D., & McClelland, S. I. (2015). “Even though it’s a small checkbox, it’s a big deal”: Stresses and strains of managing sexual identity(s) on Facebook. Culture, Health & Sexuality, 17(4), 512–526.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  111. Rymarczuk, R. (2015). The heterotopia of Facebook. Philosophy Now, 107, 6–7.Google Scholar
  112. Sayes, E. (2014). Actor–Network Theory and methodology: Just what does it mean to say that nonhumans have agency? Social Studies of Science, 44(1), 134–149.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  113. Sharma, S. (2013). Black Twitter? Racial Hashtags, networks and contagion. New Formations, 78, 46–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  114. Shotter, J. (2013). Reflections on sociomateriality and dialogicality in organization studies: From “inter-” to “intra-thinking”…in performing practices. In P. R. Carlile, D. Nicolini, A. Langley, & H. Tsoukas (Eds.), How matter matters: Objects, Artifacts, and materiality in organization studies. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  115. Simon, J. (2015). Distributed epistemic responsibility in a Hyperconnected Era. In L. Floridi (Ed.), The onlife manifesto (pp. 145–159). Cham: Springer.Google Scholar
  116. Søndergaard, D. M. (2013). Virtual materiality, potentiality and subjectivity: How do we conceptualize real-virtual interaction embodied and enacted in computer gaming, imagination and night dreams? Subjectivity, 6(S1), 55–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  117. Stein, D., & Thon, J. N. (2013). From comic strips to graphic novels: Contributions to the theory and history of graphic narrative. Berlin: de Gruyter.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  118. Stewart, L. (1995). Bodies, visions, and spatial politics: A review essay on Henri Lefebvre’s the production of space. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 13, 609–618.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  119. Stroud, N. J., Scacco, J. M., & Curry, A. L. (2016). The presence and use of interactive features on news websites. Digital Journalism, 4(3), 339–358.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  120. Stryker, S. (1980). Symbolic interactionism: A social structural version. London: Benjamin/Cummings.Google Scholar
  121. Tseëlon, E. (1992). Is the presented self sincere? Goffman, impression management and the postmodern self. Theory, Culture & Society, 9(2), 115–128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  122. Tufekci, Z. (2008). Can you see me now? Audience and disclosure regulation in online social network sites. Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society, 28(1), 20–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  123. Unwin, T. (2000). A waste of space? Towards a critique of the social production of space…. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 25(1), 11–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  124. Varis, P., & Blommaert, J. (2015). Conviviality and collectives on social media: Virality, memes, and new social structures. Multilingual Margins: A Journal of Multilingualism from the Periphery, 2(1), 31–31.Google Scholar
  125. Vis, B. N. (2009). Built environments, constructed societies: Inverting spatial analysis. Leiden: Sidestone Press.Google Scholar
  126. Voyce, M. (2006). Shopping malls in Australia: The end of public space and the rise of “consumerist citizenship”? Journal of Sociology, 42(3), 269–286.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  127. Walsham, G. (1997). Actor-network theory and IS research: Current status and future prospects. In A. S. Lee, J. Liebenau, & J. I. DeGross (Eds.), Information systems and qualitative research (pp. 466–480). London: Chapman & Hall.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  128. Westlake, E. J. (2008). Friend me if you Facebook: Generation Y and performative surveillance. TDR/The Drama Review, 52(4), 21–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  129. Whittle, A., & Spicer, A. (2008). Is actor network theory critique? Organization Studies, 29(4), 611–629.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  130. Willett, R. (2008). Consumer citizens online: Structure, agency, and gender in online participation. Youth, Identity, and Digital Media, 49–69.Google Scholar
  131. Zhao, X., Lampe, C., & Ellison, N. B. (2016). The social media ecology: User perceptions, strategies and challenges. In Proceedings of the 2016 CHI conference on human factors in computing systems (pp. 89–100). New York: ACM.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Harry T. Dyer
    • 1
  1. 1.University of East AngliaNorwichUK

Personalised recommendations