Remix Identity: Cultural Mashups and Aesthetic Violence in Digital Media,
Jamie O'Neil (2009)

The term “mash-up” sounds brutal. In one sense, remixing can be thought of as a form of “lashing back” at mass media. Forty years ago, McLuhan theorized that violence is a quest for identity, spurred on by the destruction of private-literary-individual-psychic space—by (what we now call) digital media. Although networked, digital identity construction has the possibility of increasing the range and quality of expressivity; it also undermines the traditional, authentic feeling of individual identity and cultural belonging. On the social level, this results in a confusion of cultural identity, which McLuhan saw in the rise of tribalism (today’s fundamentalism) and the struggle to hold onto patriotic identities of old. This paper builds upon McLuhan’s contention that digitization causes identity crisis which, in turn, leads to the present state of conflict.

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