Coming Anarchy 3, Identity

Note: This is a selection from Coming Anarchy, part of tdaxp‘s SummerBlog ’06







“We want [people] to be doers — deciding, not being decided for, self-directed and not acted on by external nature or by other people as if they were things, or animals, or slaves, incapable of playing a human role, that is, of conceiving goals and policies of their own and realizing them (Moshman, 1999).”
Identity is an explicit definition of self. That is, it is a description put into words that define an individual. Because of this, identity cannot be inferred but must be explicitly stated. We began this project wanting to look at how expertise in blogging and the identities of the bloggers would interact. As is shown below, our very first attempts showed that our initial hypothesis was incorrect. Explicit conceptions of self and expertise do not seem to be correlated. While this study remains quite useful for surveying different aspects of creativity, and also leads to some interesting questions about it, our original hypothesis was quickly abandoned.

Relevant Quotes From Interviews (Select):

When asked the question, “Do you find that your work in your media is an important part of your description?” the following answers were elicited:
Chirol: “Partially. The important part of that is the search for intelligent input, discussion and a challenge. I’ve been bored with most of the people around me ever since I can remember.”
Curzon: “Yes. There’s so much happening in the world that I want to discuss with like-minded individuals. …Contributing is now a part of my life, to the point where if I don’t write for a few days, I get antsy. I’m always thinking of world affairs and war and peace in the 21st century, and this is my creative outlet…”
Younghusband: “No.”

Organizing The Information From The Quotes (Organize):

There were dissimilar answers as to whether or not their activity in the domain of blogging defines them. This implies that creativity may be more a function of the domain, than of the person. We will see that this theme is repeated and continued in later findings.

Association With Our Course Readings (Associate):

“To say an individual’s identity is, at least in part, explicit, is to say it is not simply an implicit theory of self that is inferred by a psychologist to explain behavior (Moshman, 1999).”
“Perceptions that the [learners] were special for the [creative] abilities led to actions that would increase [their] opportunities to learn and to succeed (Bloom, 1985).”

Nagging Questions (Regulate):

Is this as bad as it looks for research streams that are trying to establish the connections (or interactions) between creativity and identity? Even though some of the subjects we interviewed may not explicitly say that blogging is an important part of who they are, doesn’t the fact that they are willing to sacrifice so much for blogging, the obsession they seem to have with it, and the joy they get from the recognition they receive from doing it lead us to believe that it may indeed be an important part of their identity.

Coming Anarchy, a tdaxp series:
Coming Anarchy 1: Introduction
Coming Anarchy 2: Methods and Analysis
Coming Anarchy 3: Identity
Coming Anarchy 4: Failure
Coming Anarchy 5: Obsession
Coming Anarchy 6: Sacrifices
Coming Anarchy 7: Humility
Coming Anarchy 8: Geography
Coming Anarchy 9: Recognition
Coming Anarchy 10: The Gap
Coming Anarchy 11: Conclusion