Making Intellectual Room for Persona Studies: A New Consciousness and a Shifted Perspective
It is an enormously difficult—and perhaps impossible, but ultimately important—task to comprehensively define the contemporary moment through a particular concept. This introduction and this journal make the claim that both in a pervasive way and to a pandemic extent, there is enormous activity and energy in the production, construction, and exhibition of personas. Something quite extraordinary has shifted over the last twenty years that has led to this intensive focus on constructing strategic masks of identity. The catalyst is the development of online culture and its invocation to personalize the expression of a public self—essentially a persona—regularly and incessantly. This culture of producing and monitoring our public selves is the focus of this journal as online culture blends with everyday culture and leads to an insistent proliferation of personas for both presentation and for strategic purposes in order to manage very new notions of value and reputation. The task of investigating persona is complex, and is dependent on connections and intersections across an array of disciplines. This journal and the field of Persona Studies is designed to serve as a site for this essential work of comprehending, analysing, and critiquing persona, and to allow disciplines to intersect, exchange ideas, and debate the play of persona historically and in contemporary culture.
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