The internet and privatism: Reconstructing the monitor space

Marcus Breen

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The history of US priorities continues with the Internet. While it incorporates the continuation of the republican rights claim to an ideology of the self within the boundaries of the nation, it is also already an expression of self-interest through privatism. The Internet is imbricated within the history of American individualism, characterised by the successful struggle for individual rights over collective action. An effective outcome of US ideology applied through the Internet is the masking of the struggle between the privatised, valorised individual and collective interests. The continuation of the history of technology as a limiting force for collective concerns is nothing new. However, questions about the negative consequences of the theory of privatism have begun to gain public traction, not least in recent Internet anxiety literature.

It is difficult to engage in self-criticism about Internet use because personal incorporation into the virtual world can involve challenges to established myths, such as the value of contemporary communication technologies for economic, personal and economic development (McChesney). And yet it is possible to see the world and its excesses in the monitor in such a way that the autoethnographic readings of and by Internet users advance Ellis’s and Bochner’s suggestions of the need for research that recognises the intensified “reflexive and dialogic texts,” “personal experiential narratives,” “narratives of the self,” and co-constructed and performativity narratives that inevitably open up keen reflections on the private lives of users (qtd. in Denzen and Lincoln 51-52).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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