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Online Intersex Communities: Virtual Neighborhoods of Support and Activism By Brian ...

Chapter 1:  Introduction
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Online Intersex Communities:

In chapter 3, I define virtual community as a concept. I also apply Constance Porter’s useful typology of virtual communities to distinguish the different types of intersex Web sites. Then I use Appadurai’s idea of virtual neighborhoods, along with critical input from Paul du Gay’s circular conceptualization of cultural production, to lay the theoretical foundation applied in the final chapters of the book as a means of assessing the rhetoric produced online by intersex Web sites. Finally, in the three analysis chapters, coming before the conclusion, I dedicate each one to an examination of the three significant kinds of rhetorical constructs, bonding, disseminating, and confronting, that serve to build productive intersex virtual neighborhoods:

  • Bonding (chapter 4): Just by going online and meeting with each other, by telling stories, by listening and responding, intersexed persons create change because they defy their previous isolation and they form resistant communities that had not existed before of people like them or who believe in what they believe.
  • Disseminating (chapter 5): Previously, intersex activists had limited means to disseminate information that challenged their treatment—intersex Web sites afford them the opportunity to produce easily accessible, constantly available information.
  • Confronting (chapter 6): Offering press releases advocating for different methods of treatment, providing patient information, for example, to parents of children diagnosed as intersexed, recommending medical practitioners—all of these confront established authority on intersexuality because such information isn’t coming from doctors, but instead is coming from Intersexed persons themselves.