I’ve been incubating the Cult of Me as my next empirical project for the last 18 months. It started out as a single book proposal, and – with the help of readers, friends and (existing and future) collaborators – has now evolved into a three-book series based on the research I have already done, and the fieldwork I intend to undertake.
There will be more detail in a future post, but to whet your appetite, here is a list of the initial research questions that I will be exploring over the next three-or-so years:
How are the web technologies that we use in the West reflective of how we express personal identity (eg, Barry Wellman’s networked individualism) and how we ‘do’ relationships?
How is this different to the ways collectivist cultures (China, Japan, Korea in particular) express their selves and relationships using web technologies?
What are the culturally-embedded ideological indicators of the popular web services we use (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Google), and how are they distinct from those used in China, Japan, Korea?
How will the exchange of technological solutions (code, practice) between developers creating technologies within individualist and collectivist cultures affect how we express personal identity and how we ‘do’ relationships in the future?
If you have any thoughts on these questions (pointers, research, contradictions), please do add them to the comments below.