2004-10-29

On "who I am"

While roaming about in the space of massively multiplayer online games, from the learning perspective, I stumbled on the cognitive ethnography work of Constance Steinkuehler. Here, she says something about identity that, I think, is relevant to notions of identity and its articulation in computer records:
Because the activities I engage in are crucial to my identity. Who I am determines, and is reflexively determined by, my participation in various communities (Gee, 1999; Greeno, 1997). As Packer and Goicoechea (2000) put it, “A community of practice transforms nature into culture; it posits circumscribed practices for its members, possible ways of being human, possible ways to grasp the world—apprehended first with the body, then with tools and symbols—through participation in social practices in relationship with other people. Knowing is this grasping that is at the same time a way of participating and relating.” (p. 234) In other words, changes in knowing become changes in being: Through participation in a given Discourse (Gee, 1999), I do more than just acquire and reorganize mental representations of the world; who I am, who I see myself to be, is transformed by it. To quote Jodie Foster in her 90’s slasher film, “It changes me. And that changes everything.”