New Media and Society
Published online before print July 8, 2013, doi: 10.1177/1461444813495160
In the context of modern western psychologised, techno-social hybrid realities, where individuals are incited constantly to work on themselves and perform their self-development in public, the use of online social networking sites (SNSs) can be conceptualised as what Foucault has described as a ‘technique of self’. This article explores examples of status updates on Facebook to reveal that writing on Facebook is a tool for self-formation with historical roots. Exploring examples of self-writing from the past, and considering some of the continuities and discontinuities between these age-old practices and their modern translations, provides a non-technologically deterministic and historically aware way of thinking about the use of new media technologies in modern societies that understands them to be more than mere tools for communication.
There are some great resources on the Open Culture website including free lecture recordings by Foucault from his last years at UC Berkeley, video material, podcasts and other neat things. Go check it out:
- four Lectures on Truth and Subjectivity (1980)
- six Lectures on Discourse and Truth (1983)
- three Lectures on “The Culture of the Self” (1983)
- a recording of Foucault commenting on Discipline and Punish (1977) in 1983.
- a Schoolhouse Rock-style presentation of Foucault’s The History of Sexuality, Volume I (1976).
- some vintage video of Foucault’s 1971 debate with Noam Chomsky.
Hi fellow Cultural Sociology enthusiasts,
we have curated a few reads for you around effective academic practice and the perks and pitfalls of being in academia. We hope you’ll find them useful. (If you don’t want to read them all, at least check out nr. 4. Promise you will chuckle and be able to relate to at least some of these…!)
1. Tending your Ideas Garden – a blogpost on the new Digital Sociology blog by the BSA that reminds us to scrapbook all our ideas as we may find use in them later on. A little bit like the ancient Greek practice of self-writing, using a hypomnemata, explored by Foucault as a technique of self, perhaps…
2. Making Time Not to Think – Making sure we schedule down-time into our busy, busy routines and create spaces for not-thinking – and often that’s when you have your best ideas! Again comparable to another ancient practice of self: meditation. Practicing self-care through techniques of self, as Foucault described it (see e.g. Foucault, 1986; 2005).
3. Deborah Lupton’s 30 tips for successful academic research and writing – some useful tips that go through things like planning a research schedule, making a start, being efficient and connecting with others for inspiration.
4. Finally, 21 Things academics hate – just for a laugh…! Let us know which ones you can relate to most.
Have you got any other useful articles or your own tips to share? Let us know in the comments