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Identity tourism: Wikis


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The term identity tourism was coined by Lisa Nakamura in her article, Race In/For Cyberspace: Identity Tourism and Racial Passing on the Internet[1] in 2000. The term describes the process of appropriating another identity on the web, and more specifically, an identity involving another gender and/or race than one's own. Identity tourism is primarily seen on the internet, but can also touch other media forms, such as video games[2].

The idea of 'tourism' suggests mobility within space for the purposes of curiosity, pleasure, or experience. Therefore, being able to 'tour' the internet with a new identity opens the possibility of the net being an identifiable space, where 'locations' such as chat rooms, forums, MUDs, MOOs, and other such participatory mediums can become destinations and sites of innovative play. One can 'holiday' in one such technologically mediated space without ever leaving their armchair.

In most cases, taking on an identity often results in the playing out of characteristics that are either stereotypical or perceived regarding that gender or race. This process is less than innocent, and can have implications of fetishism or objectification. If done consciously, however, role-playing in this fashion can help to debunk these stereotypes, and could potentially expand the boundaries of online community.


  1. ^ Nakamura, L. (2000). Race In/For Cyberspace: Identity Tourism and Racial Passing on the Internet. Retrieved on October 30, 2007 from
  2. ^ Flew, T. and Humphreys, S. (2005). "Games: Technology, Industry, Culture." New Media: An Introduction, Oxford University Press, South Melbourne 101-114.


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