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

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


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.


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


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

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

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