The Mobilisation of Race and Gender on an Internet Mailing List V1.0

Jonathan Paul Marshall

Abstract

This paper explores an incident in which race and gender categories were mobilised on the Internet Mailing List Cybermind during an incident of conflict. The people on this Mailing List would resist easy classification as ‘racist’, yet race proved an issue of fracture, while gender appeared to function as a way of universalising sameness and attempting integration. The process of cultural construction is shown to involve the rhetorical deployment of categories, and deployment of these categories often makes sites of ‘expertise’, which become justifiers and motivators of behaviour. This suggests that cultural barriers are not so much latent but created in response to crisis and debate. Competitions between multiple viewpoints, uneasy truce, or resolution by departure, are all hallmarks of Mailing List life.

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