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This study looks critically at how Foucault’s notion of subject formation unfolds within the matrix of power: a dynamic complex of force relations permeating society. Moreover, it elucidates how a singular subject is constituted in its interaction with the Internet. Foucault analyses our contemporary system of power as a pastoral regime where the responsibilities of government extend from institutions to the self. How one governs one’s self is shaped by various technologies; most significant for this study are technologies of the self: how an individual constitutes herself as an embodied subject. Subjection and subjectivation distinguish technologies of the self that are imposed from society from those that come from within the individual to influence society. We considered various Web sites articulating issues around women’s concerns, deconstructing the discourses they disseminate and identifying their role in women’s subjection and subjectivation. Our reading of cyberspace underscores opportunities the Internet offers in bringing about social change, provided it is integrated within a real social context that subverts the isolating and disembodied character of the virtual. This reading also warns of the increasing difficulty of taking this opportunity as Cyberspace becomes structured by commercialism’s tight constraints.


Copyright 2005 Communication Institute for Online Scholarship, Inc., Electronic Journal of Communication.

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Electronic Journal of Communication

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Pileggi, M., Stewart, C. M., and Gil‐Egui, G. (2005). Constituting women’s subjectivity in Cyberspace. Electronic Journal of Communication, 15(3‐4).

Peer Reviewed