Instagram: Race, gender, sexuality and class

Donna Haraway in her ‘A cyborg manifesto’ (1991) claims that she does not ‘know of any other time in history when there was a greater need for political unity to confront effectively the dominations of ‘race’, ‘gender’, ‘sexuality’ and ‘class”. I would argue that twenty-five years ago, when the paper was written, ‘we’ (the consciously coalesced) were probably better off; tolerance and understanding seems to be in short supply as societies break away and advocate to build walls. 📷 @natgeo January 2017 issue. #mscedc February 01, 2017 at 09:28PM


I thought this was interesting for 2012, it’s almost 5 years after these first predictions were made. I thought it was amusing to see how some of the predictions have come true, like a computer will know what we like to eat better than we do ourselves.

Performativity and collapse of context in an educational space. Week 2

Performativity and collapse of context. Source: Pinterest

I have been watching with interest how open, educational spaces might affect those working within them. As I’m sure many teachers do, when a student on a course, I always think about how I could apply the content, methodology and theory I am learning to my practice. It was while I was working through the blogs posted on Education and Digital Culture that Judith Butler’s concept of ‘performativity’ became increasingly pertinent to me. She discusses how we perform our identity with the world around us largely in relation to each other. She talks about identity being fluid because one performs different identities in different contexts and how identities are constructed around those respective contexts (Ruitenburg 2007).

Unsurprisingly, there is a high usage of social media on this course. What is surprising to me is that many are using personal and professional social media accounts in an educational context. It’s been interesting to watch how this plays out and how there is a collapse of context (boyd 2002) of our class on multiple, open, online platforms. We are exposed to parts of each other we wouldn’t normally see in a face-to-face class. We are each performing parts of ourselves online with identities that are already established (for example our political/social identities) and then contributing to our ‘digital culture’ identities which are works in progress. Thereby creating new identities together because performativity is not a single action but a series of actions or ‘the cumulative  power of repeated speech’ (Ruitenburg 2007, p 263).

The mixing of some participants’ personal, public and educational identities has been both intriguing and uncomfortable to watch. There are clearly participants who are much more comfortable sharing of themselves. I am one of those who find it difficult to share myself online, not only because I like to compartmentalise my interaction but also because I worry how different parts will relate to each other.

At the beginning of week 1, I posted a design by Dominique Falla from Instagram saying “We are all part of the same thing”. Indeed this is what I thought, that naïvely we would be discussing education, digital culture and other such related topics. We are discussing relevant content, but at the same time the collapse of context where the personal becomes the educational makes me realise that perhaps we are all part of the same thing and perhaps our discourse outside of the educational supports our performativity within it.

boyd, d. (2013). how “context collapse” was coined: my recollection. Retrieved: 20 January 2017.

Ruitenburg, C. (2007). Discourse, Theatrical Performance, Agency: The Analytic Force of “Performativity” in Education. Philosophy of Education: pp. 260-268


Comment on Myles’s Week 2 Summary by Chenée

Such a cool idea, Myles! I really enjoyed hearing your perspective, just after reading Sterne’s (2006) deconstruction of cyberculture scholarship too. I frequently fall into the trap of wanting my work to be visually appealing without thinking about doing something which would be aurally stimulating.

I have often thought that as an educator I have to be creative, Sterne’s perspective has made me realise that there is an expectation for tomorrow’s teachers to not only be creative but to be inventors and artists too. Much focus has been placed on how technology can improve our bodies but I think we have not focused on how we have to adapt to accommodate the technology. In this instance (using sound as tool for scholarly thought), it forces us to improve those skills that were not necessary and not even thought about in our teacher predecessors.

Thinking about the future, I wonder if sound could offer a real alternative to how information is disseminated among the academic community and whether publishers could be by-passed more easily. Sterne (2006) criticises cyberculture’s scholarship towards ‘visualist bias’, I can’t help but wonder if the reason for this is because text is much easier to handle than a recording. I can highlight words, write notes, cross out and reference on paper and on my computer. I don’t know a way to do the same with sound – but then again there might be an app for that. I’ll just have to upskill! 🙂

Sterne, J (2006) The historiography of cyberculture, chapter 1 of Critical cyberculture studies. New York University Press. pp.17-28.

from Comments for Myles’s EDC blog