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The walls within: working with defenses against otherness

Online Conference 5-11 July 2021

Is the Heart a Lonely Hunter?

Contemporary social constructs around individual and collective identity are full of complications which originate in the ambiguity of crowd theory of the late-19th Century. Perceptions of boundaries of the self have changed. Identity is not only differently constituted, its core is altered to the extent it can be 'stolen' in 'identity theft'. Powerful contemporary myths have arisen around 'having' an identity and phantasies about self-construction. Technological prosthetics - iMac, mobile phones, webcam - and information technology dissolve geographic space, thicken our experience of narrative time. These shifts, and the altered cultural and mental representations accompanying them, impact on how we think about complex contemporary institutions and experience our membership of, and connection with, them. If we accept that individual identity is re-constituted through new technologies, do conventional ideas about the relationship of the individual and the organization still hold... especially ideas about emotion?