Tag Archives: Loss of Identity

What’s it like to be immersed in a different value system and lose your identity? (Allen Module 1 #2)

Dr. Lee Brown’s video in Module 1 made me wonder what it would be like to have my culture suppressed. With no context of my own what better way to relate than hear a story from a fellow privileged white male (albeit a much smarter, articulate and famous one!)

Last week I was at an ET conference for community college teachers in Sarnia ON. Anthropologist Dr. Michael Wesch was a keynote speaker. He did a presentation on digital technology and global society.

He explained how he stayed in isolated communities in Papua New Guinea for 2 years. According to Dr. Wesch, he lost his entire identify while there. While immensely popular with hundreds of thousands of Web 2.0 followers, he had no reputation or following with the people he encountered. Unable to communicate, and with few “survivor skills”, he had little currency with these people. Vicariously, I can see how “different” his environment was and possibly what it might be like for others to be landed in learning environments unnatural to them.


While his presentation recording is not available, I was able to find a video that gives a pretty good summary of his presentation. The video is a quite long, however, even if you can watch the first 5 minutes it will be worth it.

Visit Dr. Wesch’s University of Kansas web site for more information about his work.