The aesthetics of the self: The meaning-making of Internet aesthetics
Keywords:Aesthetics, Postmodernity, Identity, Semiotics
In this study we explore the so-called Internet aesthetics, labels applied on heterogenous collections of materials and activities by Internet users, which are discussed and constructed primarily on the Internet. We conducted qualitative content analyses on entries of AestheticsWiki, as well as interviews with 11 Internet aesthetics enthusiasts. In contrast to established notions such as genre, style or subculture, Internet aesthetics are characterized by few conventions, but seem fundamentally open for individual interpretations. We therefore theorize that they primarily serve as toolkits, through which individuals give sense and coherence to personal experience, in line with a situation-specific self-image. In doing so, they contribute to a reflexive myth of the self.
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