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The construction of Karen Karnak: The multi-author-function

This thesis is situated within the comparatively recent developments of Web 2.0 and the emergence of interactive WikiMedia, and explores the mode of authorship within a Read/Write culture compared to that of a Read/Only tradition. The hypothesis of this study is that the role of the audience has become merged with the author, and as such, represents new functions and attributes, distinct from a more conventional concept of authorship, in which the roles of audience and author are more separate. Read/Write and participatory culture, as defined by this study, is focused on collaboration, and includes the influences of D.I.Y. culture, Open-Source practices and the production of text by multiple authors. Multi-authorship presents a re-thinking of several concepts which support the notion of the individual author, since the focus of multi-authorship is not on attribution and ownership of a finished text, but on the continued malleability of a text. Modes of multi-authorship, demonstrated in the use of the pseudonyms Alan Smithee and Karen Eliot, represent declarative authors whose names signify multiple origins, whilst concurrently indicating a distinct body of work. The function of these names form an important context to this study, since primary research involves the construction of an experimental mode of multi-authorship utilising WikiMedia technology and the interaction of thirty nine participants, who are invited to create a body of work under the collective pseudonym Karen Karnak. The data generated by this experiment is analysed using aspects of Michel Foucault's author-function to identify and determine power structures inherent in the WikiMedia context. The interplay of power structures, including concepts such as identity, ownership and the body of work, affect the resulting mode of authorship and contribute to the construction of Karen Karnak, suggesting further areas of research into the emerging multi-author.
Type of thesis
Snake-Beings, E. (2010). The construction of Karen Karnak: The multi-author-function (Thesis, Master of Arts (MA)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/4327
The University of Waikato
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