This week I have revised my original Brief to observe the concept of ‘online identity’ from both a sociological and criminological perspective. Unfortunately, there was little information to be found on this area from a political view, thus this subject has been discounted.
The area of Criminology poses very interesting research questions in regards to the concept of online identity. In particular how anonymity online could be potentially used by individuals perpetuating criminal activities. This varies from individuals pretending to be reputable organisations, perhaps asking for bank details or other personal information; to sex offenders being able to use particular online identities, different from their real-world self, to groom children. How criminals may manipulate and use online identity is quite fascinating.
This Week’s Achievements:
This week I have focused my reading on two Sociology textbooks:
1) Sassen, S, ‘A Sociology of Globalization’ (W.W. Norton & Company Inc, London, 2007)
This book, although not particularly relevant to the concept of online identity, was useful when considering how the Web has affected society on a global scale; perhaps helping to underpin the concept of globalisation. However, this book is also valuable in illustrating the basic principles of sociological methodology, which seems in this instance to be built upon different studies and statistics produced by a variety of sociologists in a particular area.
2) Nunes, M, ‘Cyberspaces of Everyday Life,’ ( University of Minnesota Press, London, 2002)
This book offers a socio-cultural view on the Web and various aspects of online identity. From how identity is used in online e-Learning, such as the University of Phoenix, where many individuals use pseudonyms instead of real names; to websites that seems to allow the expression of one part of a user’s identity, such as a parenting website. Nunes argues on this parenting website users’ identity does not seem to go beyond the realms that they are parents, anything else about identity is irrelevant. Furthermore, this book offers interesting insights into how online identity may be free from: gender, race, sexuality and social-class, and how in turn this may impact on social interaction.
Next Week’s Aims:
After contacting the School of Social Sciences in regards to issues surrounding the concept of identity on the Web, the following textbooks were kindly recommended:
- Muncie et al, ‘Criminological Perspectives’ (2nd edit.,) – used at level two for Criminology.
- Yvonne Jewkes and Majid Yar, ‘Handbook of Internet Crime’ – contains chapters relevant to the issue of identity.
- Giddens, ‘A Sociology’ – provides a good overview of Sociology (used by undergraduate sociologists)
Therefore, next week my aim is to have found these three textbooks in Hartley library and to create a short summary about each.