AuthorJenkins, Michael William
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction, presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractScience fiction has long envisioned a space where users can enter an electronic world. William Gibson, in his 1984 novel Neuromancer, paints a particularly vivid picture of this electronic world, coining the term cyberspace. As technology advances, his vision becomes less of a futuristic dream and more of possible reality. Right now, users are shopping, working, and maintaining relationships online. They are having unique experiences in cyberspace, some of which are impossible offline. This dissertation builds a framework for understanding cyberspace identity and cyberspace experiences based on authenticity. By focusing on authenticity and expectations of authenticity, this framework can incorporate all kinds of cyberspace platforms across what it calls the "Cyberspace Gradient." More importantly, using authenticity as the foundation for its conceptualization means it is not bound to a particular theory of identity but can incorporate a wide variety. As a result, an authenticity-based conceptualization presents a more robust and comprehensive understanding of cyberspace identity that can account for all the different ways users self-represent in cyberspace.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Degree GrantorUniversity of Arizona
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Targeting Young Adult Smokers' Multiple Identity Gaps and Identity Management Strategies for Behavior Change: An Application of the Communication Theory of IdentityPitts, Margaret J.; Stanley, Samantha Joan; Rains, Stephen A.; Brooks, Catherine F. (The University of Arizona., 2016)The purpose of this thesis is to determine through focus groups and individual interviews the identity gaps experienced by young adult smokers, the strategies they enact to minimize or avoid identity gaps, and contexts in which layers of identity are aligned in order to target those sites in future smoking cessation health campaign messages. Engaging in stigmatized health behaviors, like smoking, impacts the messages individuals receive from other people and the media about their health, identity, and behaviors, and the way they communicate about themselves. Michael Hecht's (1994) communication theory of identity (CTI) explains the process of enacting and shaping identities through communication and provides the framework of this thesis. Identities consist of four interpenetrating layers: enacted, personal, relational, and communal. When there is a discrepancy between layers an identity gap occurs. Identity gaps are associated with uncomfortable dissonance and negative communication outcomes. However, identity gaps also present opportunities for targeted health messages that draw attention to dissonance as a motivational tactic and offer behavior change strategies to decrease gaps. I conducted four focus groups and ten interviews focusing on the daily experiences of 20 young adult smokers. Identity gaps emerged involving all four layers of identity, though personal-enacted, enacted-relational, and personal-relational identity gaps were reported most frequently. Strategies to manage identity gaps included lying about smoking, hiding the behavior of smoking, and gauging others' reactions prior to disclosing smoking status. Participants voiced contexts and relationships in which layers of identity aligned, including around other college-age individuals and friends. Theoretical and practical implications of these findings are offered, including suggestions for health messages and interventions targeting management strategies and contexts where identity is aligned in order to decrease their efficacy and thus increase the magnitude of the already pervasive identity gaps young adults smokers experience in the hopes of motivating behavior change.
Weaving the web of identity: Contextual influences on multidimensional identity development during collegeWoodard, Dudley B., Jr.; Moran, Christy Denise (The University of Arizona., 2001)The purpose of this exploratory study was to provide insight into the contextual influences (events, experiences, and relationships) that impact multidimensional identity development during college. Specifically, the types of influences that shape identity development and the processes by which this development occurs were of interest. The sources of data for this study included the stories told by college alumni as well as the concepts found within commonly used student development inventories and assessment tools. Two methods were used to gather data from the respondents: lifelines and semi-structured interviews. The lifeline was used to encourage reflective thought among the alumni; whereas, the interviews were used to gather information about their experiences during college. A document analysis was conducted on the student development inventories and assessment tools in order to determine the conceptualization of identity found therein. In interpreting the data, a conceptual framework that drew on two bodies of literature (the research that concerns student identity development and the research that focuses on life events and experiences) was used. The results of the current study not only provide insight into the contextual influences that shape multidimensional identity development but also suggest the importance of embracing a constructivist framework and holistic conceptualization when studying identity development. Moreover, the results suggest new ways of thinking about the influence that faculty and administrators have over the environment in terms of shaping identity. Future research should continue to investigate the underlying process of multidimensional identity development.