In a large part due to the lovingly "piss or get off the pot" prompting of K, I spent the long weekend working on the thesis. Although I have put the first chapter behind me (for now), I really felt as though the second chapter was an incoherent, rambling mess of ideas that were neither connected nor relevant.
Fortunately, K took the time to read through the chapter for me and told me that it was quite the opposite. It needed some reorganization, sure, and I needed to expand on the theories I was bringing into play, but the basic skeleton was there and - at least for the most part - she buys the theory I'm employing and why I've chosen to employ them.
The short version is that I'm using Jacques Lacan, Alfred North Whitehead, and N. Katherine Hayles to unravel the development of identity in the blogger. Each of these theorists alone is useful for looking at blogging, but gives an incomplete picture of what is going on. For example, Lacan wrote about the mirror stage in the development of an infant's identity, in which an "Ideal I" is discovered by misrecognizing itself in its own reflection. The infant then moves to a social recognition. That's great, but with the blogger, there seems to be a constant flickering between the recognition of the self and the recognition of the social that Lacan doesn't really work for. Whitehead is useful for illustrating how the blogger is at once a subject - herself - and the object of her experiences; she becomes the subject-superject, in which she can be both a subject and an object. But Whitehead denies his subject the understanding that she is composed of the object of her experiences (Nobo); the blogger is very aware of this composition, however. Lacan and Whitehead fail at their completion because they both rely on a physical, static subject position. The identity the blogger creates is neither physical nor static (as not only does the blogger constantly re-evaluate her blog identity, but she creates an electronic identity. And this is where Hayles comes in. In How we became posthuman, she discusses the shift from presence/absence to pattern/randomness that occurs when language is coded electronically. Lacan's signifiers, used to separate the author and the reader, lose their stability when the language is divorced from its original context, encoded, decoded, deconstructed and reconstructed. The flux in these signifiers also creates a condition where Whitehead's subject can understand itself as the object of its own experiences, and therefore becomes an object of its own experience, creating a recursive loop.
(Maybe now you can see why I've been having such a hard time writing this stuff)
Anyways, buoyed by K's encouragement, I managed to get Chapter two in much, much better shape. I may even be able to finish it within a week, leaving me with only the conclusion to write. (I also worked on the Introduction, which only needs a final edit before going off to my supervisor). There's a real chance that I might be able to defend this thing soon, which is very exciting.