Volume 17 Number 15 May 16, 2016

Video-Sharing Website Writing as Identity Performance: Heuristic Inquiry into Experiencing Personally Meaningful Music

Justin Nicholes
Indiana University of Pennsylvania, USA

Citation: Nicholes, J. (2016). Video-Sharing website writing as identity performance: Heuristic inquiry into experiencing personally meaningful music. International Journal of Education & the Arts, 17(15). Retrieved from http://www.ijea.org/v17n15/.


Enacting heuristic phenomenological inquiry, this article explores the experience of watching a video of a live show of what was personally meaningful music for the researcher. In this study, personally meaningful music, defined as music integral to adolescent identity construction, was sung by and conveyed through the online discoursal self (Ivanič, 1998), or performed stage persona, of Mina Caputo, a transgender woman in the alternative-metal band Life of Agony. Data included a one-hour video of a live show and online comments. Data analysis involved heuristic and arts-based elements, involving explication of qualities of Mina Caputo’s discoursal self, explication of themes in online comments, and creative syntheses of data into found poetry and flash fiction. General results include the majority of comments posted online representing identity performances that challenged dominant practices and discourses regarding transgender possibilities for selfhood. Results also describe how the experience of heuristic inquiry itself represented a process toward internal growth for the researcher. This paper presents a methodology useful for self-discovery related to the central phenomenon, provides empirical data of online transgender performance, and explores video-sharing website writing as identity performance.

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