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Accepted Paper:

Scoping the virtual world: identity reshaping as an epistemological prerequisite for research  
Gabriel Stoiciu ('Francisc Rainer' Institute of Anthropology)

Paper short abstract:

The non-physical space of virtual world offers the possibility to reconstruct one's self and to explore 'identities' of other people more or less familiar to us in the real world. Hence, an 'a priori' phenomenological self-inquiry would steer the research towards a more epistemic-accurate pathway.

Paper long abstract:

Online environments provide new challenges for reconsidering the epistemological approach of social sciences. Virtual reality might facilitate creation of new 'personae' or just the arise of the inner most uninhibited ones. Social sciences have thus the chance to analyze new forms of sociability that mark the cyberspace. Becoming a part of virtual reality offers the opportunity of reshaping one’s own identity and, furthermore, of exploring the various identities of other individuals who are more or less familiar to us in the real world. Once inside this cultural environment, a social scientist has to engage in a phenomenological endeavor over the individual and social impact of Internet, before tackling the actual fieldwork.

The aim of such an endeavor is to create an 'a priori' instrument capable of helping the researcher in social sciences to anticipate and manage the possible diversions that the virtual environment could inflict on the collection and, ultimately, on the validity and fidelity of data. This instrument, both 'etic' and 'emic', should comprise a body of inquiries that lead to a self-questioning about the congruence of means and intentions of the researcher while recording and sharing various experiences in the cyberspace of today and in the Metaverse of tomorrow. This approach requires, first of all, to appraise the extent to which the evolutionary trends of cyberspace and Metaverse, designed by private multinational agents, would be able to preserve the cultural complexity of the human being apart from its status as "user" of digital platforms.

Panel P111a
Being there - but how? On the transformation of presences I
  Session 1 Tuesday 26 July, 2022, -