UBC Community, Partners, and Alumni Publications

Virtual Ethnicity: The new digitization of place, body, language, and memory Macfadyen, Leah P.


Ethnicity represents a challenging category of selfhood, even for societies sharing a material lived reality. In cyberspace, ethnicity becomes even more confusing. If ethnic affiliation truly depends upon material phenomena such as body or place, what scope, if any, is there for construction of “real ethnicity” in the deterritorialized disembodied virtual spaces of the Internet? In this paper, I present arguments for the recognition of virtual identities as “real,” and I also argue that the material world is, in itself, interwoven with elements of virtuality. I go on to consider the ways in which new virtual communities may attempt establish virtual ethnic identities in cyberspace.

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