[Air-l] Identity and Internet

Ben Davidson bendavidson at totalise.co.uk
Sun Mar 17 19:46:43 PST 2002

----- Original Message -----
From: "Mary L. Gray" <mgray at weber.ucsd.edu>
To: <air-l at aoir.org>
Sent: Monday, March 18, 2002 5:14 AM
Subject: Re: [Air-l] Identity and Internet

> ** i'd have to say i think susan's search of the Goldsmith College
> seems more a case of questioning or challenging legitimacy (and by
> one's 'right' to a voice in this forum)...although i could see where this
> could lead to a revoking of 'existence' in this forum.
> work environments are by no means absent of sexually charged power
> or our sexualities. so, i'm not sure why i expect to see a request for
> in a dating chat room or on a matchmaker website, but wasn't prepared to
> it on the AIR list. why is that? i'm (sort of) prepared to see/deal with
> these dynamics in the classroom or at a departmental meeting, and i
> i'm now watching AIR-L figure out how to deal with these dynamics
> online--which so far has come across as 'filter it out/ignore it'...a less
> than satisfying response to a complicated situation.

Hi Mary,

I am baffled that you don't see the link between these two events you

Susan challenges Lachlan's legitimacy, questions his right to have a voice
on this forum, with a clever allusion to his absence from the website of the
college where he claims to be based.  I don't know about sexually charged,
but wouldn't you say this is a fairly clear manifestation of power dynamics?
CV's at dawn.

Lachlan, in reply, alludes to the personal attack/power play hidden within
this challenge in his caricature of another, less subtle form of intrusive
personal attack/power play, at the same time changing the discourse to
include personal detail as well as listing his academic background.  I
thought actually that was as much trying to be real, personal, as
retaliating in kind.

And anyway, isn't that really the objection to Lachlan?  So far as I can
see, folk simply don't like his style of contributions.  He just doesn't use
the right language, adopt the right (academic) 'voice' and often appears to
be having a conversation with himself.  He talks personally rather than

I think the fact that I usually can't be bothered to get into what he's
saying says as much about me as it does about him.  On occasions when I can
be bothered, I find his contributions quite intruiging.

I really enjoyed reading John's and Denise's postings about Identity and the
Internet, and Mark's postings today about research gaps - seems a much more
useful pursuit to springboard from all this into subjects that are relevant
to the list, than focusing all this energy into labelling someone a troll
and trying to eradicate them, bacause we don't like their style of

Although I guess that labelling/pathologising styles of Internet engagement
is also a legitimate interest on this list, even if I don't like it myself.

This post of course reflects my own bias - as a practitioner in the mental
health field, I get very hot under the collar when I see people damaged by
the process of being labelled and pathologised by groups, groups who are
often actually doing no more than trying to silence and deny the experience,
often of domination and abuse, for which such people are trying to find


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