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2022 Abstracts Stage 2

An investigation into the portrayal of ‘perfection’ on social media.

This project shall investigate the premises of social media to explore how perfection can be portrayed online, alongside the effect that it can have on individuals and society as a whole. Using the concepts the ego, the id and the superego, from the work of Freud, The Imaginary, the Symbolic and the Real from Lacanian psychoanalysis and the notion of shame from Sartre, this project seeks to understand how these concepts can be used to understand why an idealised online persona is desired.

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2022 Abstracts Stage 2

Social Media and the Construction of Identity

This paper examines whether the exponential growth in the usage of social media is influencing the construction of our identity, with a specific focus on Facebook. The object of my project was to investigate whether there was a correlation between the exponential growth of social media and identity. The interest for this was stemmed through reading a variety of articles claiming the negative impacts social media obtains, because social media platforms exposes us to a variety of different cultures, opinions and perspectives, this ultimately must have some influence over identity composition. This project examines David Hume, ‘Treatise of Human Nature, specifically, book 1, part IV ‘Of Personal Identity’. Soren Kierkegaard’s ‘The Two ages: A literary review and lastly, Zygmunt Bauman’s book ‘Identity’. Engaging with these different texts concerning identity, provides a variety of different theories of how one forms identity. Analysing these philosophers works, highlighted that there are three main themes which contribute and can impact identity. The three main themes explored within this paper are: choice and experience, communities and collective identity and lastly, liquid modernity and capitalism. Investigating these main themes, enabled the conclusion to be reached that social media does influence the construction of identity.

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2022 Abstracts Stage 3

Civil Disobedience in the Tik-Tok Generation

In this project, I focused on the overturning of Roe V. Wade, a law which made abortion a constitutional right in all of the American states, which occurred in June 2022 and the resulting reaction of ‘Gen Z’ which was displayed on TikTok. I applied Nietzsche’s understanding of the Master and Slave morality and providing a discussion on how the new TikTok generation can provide a reintroduction of the Master morality to society. Focusing on the Christian moral principles which prevail in US politics and how this allowed the overturning to take place, whilst discussing how those in power maintain a Slave morality. Furthermore, I used Rawls’ understanding of civil disobedience to analyse how TikTok has provided a new platform for ‘Gen Z’ to engage in their own forms of civil disobedience, in response to the Roe V. Wade overturning. I used examples of civil disobedience documented on TikTok in response to the ruling and provided an analysis of their engagement to understand how the impact of their civil disobedience has been amplified as a result of TikTok. Hence, determining that TikTok successfully demonstrates Rawls’ understanding of civil disobedience.

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2022 Abstracts Stage 3

Stage 3 Project

In a digital age saturated with social media platforms, Why has social media app TikTok become the most downloaded app of 2019, 2020 and 2021?

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2022 Abstracts Stage 3

Information is power: the ethics of privacy and data ownership between the citizen, social media companies and the state.

The aim of this project is to investigate who ought to have the authority to decide on the accessibility and use of data such as messages over social media – the state or the companies? Having the right to this level of authority will bring enormous influence politically, socially, and economically in our current society which is why it is a relevant and significant debate amongst modern ethicists

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2021 Abstracts Stage 2

Is social media a threat to society?

In this essay i will be drawing a comparison between ‘The Question Concerning Technology’ by Martin Heidegger and the state of social media today. I will investigate a couple of examples and use them to assess whether or not social media is a threat.

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2021 Abstracts Stage 2

‘A philosophical investigation to whether the prevalent overuse of social media has a negative impact on mental health’

Due to the recent surge of both social media and overall decline of mental health this project title was chosen, and it seeks to discover a correlation between the two. Social medias rapid growth will be showcased to show its embryonic state, showing its lack of reliability. Once the link is discovered studies supporting the direct link will be showcased as well as Simon Sinek’s motivational talks about raising a generation on dopamine devices, which subsequently forms addiction and destruction of relationships. The ability to maintain healthy relationships is a key aspect in sustaining a good mental health. The philosophical investigation will then be carried out to come to the bottom of the issue, to uncover the deeper problems of SM in relation to the human psyche. Baudrillard’s concept of a ‘hyperreality’ (real without origin of reality) and Borgmann’s ‘virtual fog’ (seeping into human connection) will be explored. Borgmann, Baudrillard and Sinek harmoniously highlight that real life and real humans are complicated enough without adding this hyperreal virtual fog that further scrambles our brains- amplified into a kind of tortuous labyrinth which produces feelings of loneliness and deteriorates our mental states the more we attempt to make sense of it and the further we travel this untrodden idle path. Sartre ties it all together at the end with his ‘existence proceeds essence’, his fight for the potential of locating an authentic self. This potentiality is, arguably, being cut off by this hyperreal virtual fog. Inauthentic human existence produces melancholy. Reclaiming this, is possible as long as the prevalent overuse of social media is recognised as something inherently negative and reduced. Essentially this philosophical investigation concludes that the prevalent overuse of social media negatively impacts overall mental health.

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2021 Abstracts Stage 3

The Black Mirror: Influence of Social Media on Identity

Objectives: To establish the extent of influence Social Media has on people’s identity using the philosophical concepts of: Lacan, Goffman, Bauman and McLuhan. Furthermore, to investigate if the anxiety surrounding, what Farman described, as the ‘techxistential crisis’ of the 21st century is rational. And if Social Media can have a positive influence on one’s Identity.

Conclusions: The Black Mirror – Social Media has a pervasive influence over our identity as the ‘mirror stage’ does for Lacan. This is because we spend a lot of time staring into the “black mirror” of the screen in which we use for Social Media. The performance of our identity on Social Media and in real life converge. Social Media’s influence on our identity does not have to be a negative one. Our identity has always been performative and Social Media just offers a new medium in which to explore this. If we learn how to monitor our usage and utilise Social Media positively; social media can be a positive influence for exploring and performing identity

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2021 Abstracts Stage 2

The Dangers Posed By Social Media, and What They Mean for the Smartphone Generation

Project aims:

• To raise awareness of the dangers facing this and future generations, such as the mental health crisis and the existential threat to society.
• To offer real world practical solutions, such as legal/governmental legislation to moderate social media and by limiting our own social media use today.
• To create a challenge for myself, by applying 20th century philosophy to a modern-day concept.

Object/territory:

• Social media: The big six include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and TikTok.
• Smartphone generation or Generation Z is anyone born between 1995-2012, this is the first generation to grow up with social media.

Sources used:

• Consciousness, Art and Technology: Karl Barthes, ‘The Death of the Author’ and Walter Benjamin, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. The social media author is dead, and the cause is suicide.
• Kantian and Post-Kantian Philosophy: Sigmund Freud, ‘Instincts and their Vicissitudes’. There is a drive attached to social media.
• ‘iGen’ book by Jean Twenge notices children are growing up slower and are facing a mental health crisis.
• ‘The Social Dilemma’ documents how social media is deigned to addict the user and then sell their data on. This can then end up in the wrong hands.

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2021 Abstracts Stage 2

Girls and Social Media

Girls and Social Media

The Object of my project is how social media contributes towards and perpetuates the damaging social construct of femininity.

Control.

Control is the overarching force at play in this project. It refers both to capitalist and patriarchal control. Foucault explains how social media acts as a form of surveillance, policing and governing girls’ behaviour online and prohibiting their freedom.

Identity.

Identity is relevant to this project because of the identities girls form on social media. Girls internalise the sexually objectifying media content they consume on social media, which causes the development of a patriarchal construction of identity. Tiqqun is used to demonstrate how this prohibits girls from experiencing true value in a number of ways, such as the values of liberation, introspective intimacy and identity.

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2021 Abstracts Stage 2

The collective authorship of memes, instigated by the birth of the reader

In 1967, French literary theorist and cultural critic Roland Barthes asserted The Death of the Author. Representing a call for a diminished heed in reviewing the backdrop of the author when interpreting a text, he states the reader as the only place where such meaning within a text can accumulate. It is through the Internet meme, “groups of items sharing common characteristics of content and form” (Williams, 2020, 4), we see this call met. Addressing Foucault’s “author-function” argument, we see the meme detach from the author’s stipulation — in its being propagated on the Internet, participation in the creation of work no longer holds regard to an author. Instead, we see memes created, propagated, spread, remixed, edited, actions integral to the digital experience, allowing the meme to standalone as a piece of work in its own utterance, it is not simply an original piece but woven in it lies countless threads of culture. In detailing Pepe, the Frog meme, we find memes represent a collective cultural experience: different groups rally over the Internet to depict meaning to a piece of work, presenting differing composition of cultures, none of which original. Thus, in the Internet age, the birth of the reader is in full stride, presenting the author as truly dead, in the context of the collective ownership of memes.

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2021 Abstracts Stage 3

Is the age of social media marketing creating a warped sense of reality for Generation Z?

This project looks at the question, ‘Is the age of social media marketing creating a warped sense of reality for Generation Z?’. This project explores and applies Baudrillard’s concepts of hyperreality as well as his theory of sign value, to the modern world of social media. As well as looking at areas such as fast fashion marketing and the effect social media can have on both mental health and our perception of reality.

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2021 Abstracts Stage 3

How does Online Surveillance Serve to Assert Power and Reduce Autonomy

I wanted to investigate online surveillance and how it asserts power and reduces autonomy

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2021 Abstracts Stage 3

Has the insurgence of Social Networking Services propelled us towards Jean Baudrillard’s concept of social hyperreality?

Has the insurgence of Social Networking Services propelled us towards Jean Baudrillard’s concept of social hyperreality? Well, Jean Baudrillard would argue yes, social
networking services are bringing us closer to a state of ‘pure simulacrum’, where no real understanding of the world can be divined. Albert Borgmann would argue yes, but the issue is more complicated than this. Social Networking Services are a product of our desire in a postmodern Western landscape to integrate technological designs into our everyday life. We can complain, but we caused it! But Hubert Dreyfus would argue not necessarily but engaging on the internet is dangerous in the same way Soren Kierkegaard thought engaging with the press was once. We lose track of our sense of identity and conform too much! No matter who’s opinion you look at more, one thing is for sure, that social networking services hide more than they reveal.

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2021 Abstracts Stage 3

‘Virtual Identities Vs. Authentic Selves: A Philosophical Investigation into Whether the Level of Value Society holds for Hyperreal Identities Relates to Baudrillard’s Notion of ‘The Death of the Real’

Virtual Identities Vs. Authentic Selves: A Philosophical Investigation into Whether the Level of Value Society Offers to Hyperreal Identities Relates to Baudrillard’s Notion of ‘The Death of the Real’

This project aims to explore society’s immersion in technology or simulations of reality such as social media, with the idea this hyperreality is used to claim a second identity. This territory will be looked at more closely, by interpreting the value society places on virtual identity offered by the implosion of the new stimulating realm of technological experience such as social media and whether this contributes to losing a sense of authenticity and external reality which will point toward Baudrillard’s notion regarding the death of the real.

-Look at Taylor’s concept of webs of interlocution in ‘sources of the Self’ to show how society is able to learn identity, from being affected by others, in social spaces such as social media.
-Research the extent social media can affect society’s identities supported by a description of ‘Snapchat Dysmorphia’.

-Demonstrate how social media increases communities individuals are able to become a part of in granting a sense of identity.
-Look at Bauman’s concept of liquid modernity emphasising how the task of identity formation is incoherent and difficult in a world of flux.
Use Bauman’s concept cloakroom communities to describe how social media allows swapping of identity comes ease alluding to inauthenticity of virtual identity.

-Baudrillard’s concepts from his publication ‘Simulacra and Simulations’ used to describe simulations of reality and hyperreality of social media.
-Draw on how virtual identity is becoming further from the external reality and are the most real way we perceive people.
-Baudrillard’s Semiological theory will be used to explain why society values virtual identity of signs-value.

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2017 Abstracts Stage 2

Why are we so addicted to social media? A question involving the issues of personal identity

Territory/object → Social media in relation to social media and related to ‘Nosedive’ – an object of contemporary society
Philosophers → Michel Foucault, Arthur Schopenhauer

Overview → I will be exploring why so many of us feel compelled to manipulate our identities online and the issues surrounding the ease and ability to do so with little restrictions. I consider what philosophers of different centuries may have said on such matters. I aim to support and prove my claim that until we change the values of the social system that we are a part of, we will not be able to overcome the negative impacts that social media provides.

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2017 Abstracts Stage 2

Safety in numbers: Understanding the popularity of the internet’s, ‘Alternative Light’.

The Alternative light in this context, is specifically that of, ‘Anti-Social Justice’ YouTube channels.

In my project I set out to understand three main things:

How these anonymous, internet based, political movements come about. About other real-world movements such as Occupy wall street
Is there any Philosophical foundation, or key figures, in founding this movement? (I define it as a movement due to its large growth both in viewership, and online political presence). And how does this compare to the foundations of other more extreme movements.
In the case where there is no foundation of these kinds, how does the world view remain so homogenous, and are there any issues in the foundation of everyone’s belief system?

Along the way I employed primarily the Philosophy of Nick Land, as he is most heavily associated with the movement, and helped in highlighting the significance of analyzing the alt-light specifically. I mapped the progression of these channels from their atheistic, anti-creationist origins, and using the philosophy’s, including that of Land and Nietzsche, showed the significance of this genesis, in the progression of the movement.

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2017 Abstracts Stage 3

Between Emancipation and Control: A critical discussion of social media in postmodern

Between Emancipation and Control: A Critical Discussion of Social Media in Postmodern Society

Is social media the key to emancipation, or the handcuffs prohibiting liberation? This project started from the object of social media and the claim that, as society has become highly mechanised, it is a further perpetuation of control and the very medium, which keeps individual behaviour in accordance with what is deemed socially acceptable. This project aimed to investigate this claim, using the case of Cambridge Analytica, to reach a conclusion to the overriding question: CAN SOCIAL MEDIA EMANCIPATE?

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2017 Abstracts Stage 3

Data-Mining

What is data-mining?
In the case of Cambridge Analytica, data-mining is extracting data from people’s social media accounts to gather information on them.

What is micro-targeting
Micro-targeting is using data and information gathered on people to identify their interests and beliefs and then use this to try influence them, in this case their political decisions.

Cambridge Analytica
Cambridge Analytica is a data analytics company founded in 2014. They manipulated Facebook in order to access millions of people’s personal details and information and used it to influence elections.

Democracy in the age of technology: a philosophical enquiry exploring the effect data-mining and micro-targeting has on a democratic government.
Philosophy used to explain this: Debord’s Society of the Spectacle and Rousseau’s Social Contract.

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2017 Abstracts Stage 2

Manchester VS Ataturk

With the internet and social media reforming the realm of reporting news, those that have routinely ignored developing nations are demanded to atone for biased newscasts, thus the project intends to bridge this gap and to further interrogate to what extent there exists a journalistic void, seeking out the cause and how to resolve it.

Methodology: The project concerns two cities, both of which had experienced an act of terror in connection to the Islamic State (IS). This project deploys qualitative research in the discourse of an interpretive methodological approach.

Objects:

Manchester – The first object of terror befell on the 22nd of May 2017, in Manchester’s Arena. The incident occurred at an Ariana Grande concert.
Istanbul – The second object denoting an act of terror was the automatic weapons fired and suicide bombings that occurred in Istanbul’s Ataturk airport, on the 28th of June 2016.