Digital bodies

Jaynes, Victoria (2019) Digital bodies. In: Ross, K (ed.) The International Encyclopaedia of Gender, Media, and Communication. Wiley. (Accepted)

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The relationship between the body and digital technology has long been a lively area of feminist scholarship, resulting in many ways of thinking about ‘Digital Bodies’. Feminist theory has conceptualised the body in a digital age using the image of ‘cyborgs’ and as part of ‘sociotechnical networks’. Rather than approaching technology as portals to disconnected virtual worlds which host dis-embodied interactions between avatars, contemporary digital technologies and our daily interactions with these are frequently framed as ‘biomediated’ or as ‘material-discursive phenomena’. Informed by decades of theorising physical bodies as mutually biological and discursive, two key assertions unify contemporary feminist approaches to Digital Bodies. The first is that bodies and technologies are by necessity interrelated. The second is that embodied experiences of technology, and the design of technology itself, are tied to broader systems of gendered power.

Tracing debates from earlier feminist approaches to technology from the 70’s and 80’s, new technologies were often framed as holding emancipatory potential despite enduring gender and power inequalities. Since the 90’s and as part of the continuing legacy of this earlier work, technologies have been increasingly understood as cultural products which are inherently gendered and therefore not free from the socio-political context of the design and engagement with technologies in everyday life.

Item Type: Book Section
Schools and Departments: School of Education and Social Work > Social Work and Social Care
Subjects: L Education
Depositing User: Deeptima Massey
Date Deposited: 05 Jul 2019 08:51
Last Modified: 05 Jul 2019 08:51

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