deleonjh (deleonjh) wrote in cmanthropology,

Theoretical perspectives on blogs

Hello, I hope this community hasn't become defunct.  Anyway, I'd just like to solicit suggestions and discussion of  ways to examine blogs theoretically.   Right now, I have three different perspectives:

1.  Blogs as impression management.  This comes from Erving Goffman's work.  I especially like his discussion of the personal front and how ego tries to control the impressions of observers in an infinite cycle of revelation and discovery.

2.  Blogs as performance.  This I get from Judith Butler mostly, and it's rather intuitive if you think about it.  Still, despite some background in feminist theory I'm rather weak in this area and would like some help.

3.  Blogs as speech genre.  This comes from Mikhail Bakhtin by way of Alireza Doostdar, who wrote a very interesting analysis of Persian weblogestan (a neologism for blogosphere) in the Dec 2004 issue of American Anthropologist.

What I also like is Bakhtin's concept of the superaddressee.  Essentially, all dialogue consists of a minimum of three participants: the speaker, the listener, and the superaddressee, a greater audience which the speaker takes will understand the utterance perfectly.  That is, while misunderstandings can occur between the speaker and the listener, always in the back of the speaker's mind is the belief that his or her utterance has an intended meaning that can be grasped, if not by the listener, then some perfect audience (God, reasonable people, history, etc).

What I am not looking at is blogs as panopticon.  The panopticon is a tool of control that is used without the consent of the observed, which is not what blogging is at all, since it is done at the will of the blogger.  The gaze of the blogosphere is one that is invited by the blogger, so it is not entirely a panopticon.  In fact, many bloggers don't even consider that anyone besides their intended audience might be able to read their blogs.

Anyway, whatever thoughts and suggestions anyone else can share would be appreciated.

x-posted to blog_sociology and lj_research
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