Boundary Maintenance

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Definition

The act of maintaining boundaries in reality or the digital space, whether physically or intellectually. This can manifest as maintaining boundaries of one’s social class, and maintaining boundaries of one’s secondary self online.

Boundary maintenance has played a central role in all societies throughout history. In India sacred ground is maintained by taking one's shoes off before entering the space, etc. But the concept bears a special relation to our modern cyborg condition. Boundaries that used to be considered "natural", such as gender/sex, have been thrown into question due to modern scholarship and technological advances. When natural boundaries, such as death, gender, social status, and romantic status, become problematized, more energy is required to maintain the boundary. Cyborgs defy boundaries and flourish in the slippery slopes between preconceived categories. What do we call a mouse with a human ear growing on its back?

Example

In a restaurant, boundary maintenance can easily be seen as those sitting near each other maintain their own space though they are physically proximal.

On Myspace, people understand how to maintain boundaries even when they are challenged by outsiders - for instance, people know what status or social class they are and seek to reproduce that over time, reinforcing their own social behavior and blocking others — and communication with others who are outside that behavior.

Cyborg Security

Cyborg Security is a phrase used to describe the digital version of security for the physical self. Cyborg security is the security of the digital self, the extension of the self into online worlds. As we extend our technosocial selves online, our brains and extended delves become open to social and physical access. With that new level of access come security concerns. For instance, as researcher danah boyd discovered, some teenagers are known to disable their Facebook accounts when they go offline. This is to prevent people from posting on their wall when they're not there to defend it. This practice, also known as "super-logoff"[1] is an example of a risk reduction strategy on Facebook.

References

  1. boyd, danah. Risk Reduction Strategies on Facebook. Zephoria.org. Accessed June 5, 2011. http://www.zephoria.org/thoughts/archives/2010/11/08/risk-reduction-strategies-on-facebook.html