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Second life avatars as extensions of social and physical bodies in people with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Best, K. and Butler, S. (2013) Second life avatars as extensions of social and physical bodies in people with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies, 27 (6). pp. 837-849.

Link to Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10304312.2013.794190
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Abstract

In 2009, a virtual reality support centre in the virtual world Second Life was constructed for people with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome to determine whether a virtual reality setting could help alleviate the social isolation experienced by sufferers of this condition, despite the specific challenges technology presents to individuals with the illness. The results of the study suggest that the physiological effects experienced by participants while navigating their Second Life avatars necessitate a reconsideration of the relationship between the organic human body, psychoanalytic projections of the idealized or socially constructed body and technology. This paper examines the role avatars play as extensions of both the social and physiological bodies of users by combining phenomenological, cyberfeminist and psychoanalytic theory with recent findings in neuroscience.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Arts
Publisher: Routledge
Copyright: © 2013 Taylor & Francis
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/15750
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