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The Internet and the Construction of New ‘Psychic Configurations’

Date & Time:
16:00:00 - 17:30:00,
Tuesday 28 April, 2009


It is well-known and easily accepted that revolutionary technologies introduce profound changes in the social tissue, in the means of production, in the organization of the workforce, etc. But this is not all they do. Even though it is not as easily recognized, revolutionary technologies also introduce profound changes in people’s ways of being, thinking, feeling and acting. The revolutionary technologies of the beginning of the industrial period, for instance, generated social transformations which, in turn, resulted in the emergence of a new psychological organization that became prominent in the western world: that of the individual. Likewise the Internet and other ICT’s have been producing changes of close interest to psychology. The most important of them is the construction of new ‘psychic configurations’, whose central characteristics are apparently becoming each time more culture-independent.

Drawing upon the results of a number of studies carried out in the past 15 years, this presentation will explore the first contours of such a new ‘psychic configuration’ which is emerging in Brazil. Whenever possible, reference will be made to similar findings in international literature.

BSP/OII Seminar Series

This seminar is part of a series organised by the Brazilian Studies Programme and the OII, convened by Dr Timothy Power (Brazilian Studies Programme) and Marcelo Thompson (OII). The series is aimed at understanding the ways in which the use of the Internet and related technologies is changing the cultural, political and otherwise social landscape in 21st Century Brazilian Society.

The first set of two seminars to be given at the OII by distinguished Brazilian officials and scholars will focus on the theme of ‘Internet and Personhood in Brazil’ – that is, on the transformations that Brazilian society is experiencing in different dimensions of its very understanding of human personhood.

This seminar is part of a series organised with the Brazilian Studies Programme at the University of Oxford.

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  • Dr Marcelo Thompson
  • Name: Dr Marcelo Thompson|Professor Ana Maria Nicolaci|Dr Timothy Power
  • Affiliation: Oxford Internet Institute|Department of Psychology and Digital Media Institute (IMD), Pontifical
    Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio)|Brazilian Studies Programme
  • Role: Series Convenor||Series Convenor
  • URL:||
  • Bio: |Both journalist and psychologist, Ana Maria Nicolaci-da-Costa obtained her M.A. in Psychology at the New School for Social Research (New York), in 1975, and her Ph.D., also in Psychology, at the University of London, in 1983. At present, she is an Associate Professor at the Department of Psychology, a member of the board of directors of the Digital Media Institute and Vice-Dean of the Center of Theology and Human Sciences at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, PUC-Rio. Since her arrival in Rio from London, in 1984, she has been engaged in the study of the psychological impacts of social transformations that have occurred in Brazil. In a first moment, she analyzed the psychological consequences of the process of modernization, which took place during the 1960s and 1970s. From the mid 1990s on, however, the focus of her research shifted to the study of the psychological transformations resulting from exposure to and use of new digital technologies, mainly the Internet and cell phones. Making use of her interdisciplinary background (to which contributed the several post-graduate courses in different areas attended at the University of London), she has also been developing qualitative research methods which are sensitive to the exploration of new realities. She has published three books and numerous papers.|