[ISEA97] Keynote: Sherry Turkle – Life on the Screen


On the Internet people are able to inhabit multiple worlds and explore multiple aspects of the self. For individuals, online life can serve as a sort of moratorium or “time-out”, a time of experimentation that facilitates the development of identity. For organizations, virtual communities offer a place for experimenting, parallel play, an environment for working through new ideas. Although many speak about a movement from a psychoanalytic to a computer culture, the reality is more complex. Our need for a practical philosophy of self-knowledge, one that does not shy away from issues of multiplicity, complexity, and ambivalence, has never been greater as we struggle to make meaning from our lives on the screen. It is fashionable to think that we have passed from a psychoanalytic culture to a computer culture – that we no longer need to think in terms of Freudian slips but rather of information processing errors. But the reality is more complex. It is time to rethink our relationship to the computer culture and psychoanalytic culture as a proudly held joint citizenship.

  • Sherry Turkle, USA. A professor of the sociology of science at MIT, Sherry Turkle explores the forces shaping our lives on the verge of a new century, most significantly the effects of technology on our society, business, education system and private lives. A licensed clinical psychologist, Turkle has written several books, including The Second Self – Computers and the Human Spirit, Psychoanalytic Politics, and her newest book, Life on the Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet. Her work has been written about in both academic and popu­lar publications, including Wired, Technology Review, Time, Newsweek, US News and World Report, and others. She has appeared on many radio and television programs, includ­ing Nightline, The Today Show and 20-20. Turkle has pur­sued her work with support from the National Science Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation.She has been awarded fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller Foundations. She holds a joint Ph.D. in Personality Psychology and Sociology from Harvard University.