“Control Over How You Might Represent Yourself”: Identity Play through Virtual Material Culture

Anelise Haukaas (College of Coastal Georgia)

This paper examines how virtual realms present a unique space for folklorists to study. The theme, “Roots, Rootlessness, and Uprooting,” is especially relevant when one looks to online communities: spaces where performance and play occur, rituals and traditions are conducted, and folk speech is used—but physical location is irrelevant. It is also a space in which change is inevitable and practices form and reform at an incredible rate. Focusing in particular on metaverse platforms—such as VRChat, Second Life, and Roblox—this paper considers how marginalized identities are performed through virtual material culture, such as avatar clothing and accessories.

Part of 07-07 Constructing Digital Identities, Saturday, November 04, 8:30 am–10:00 am