Digital Intimacies : Doing Digital Media Differently

Abstract: Digital media have become an integral part of many people’s everyday lives and constitute an intimate presence therein. Utilizing the concept of digital intimacy to focus on these recent developments, this doctoral dissertation takes the perspectives of feminist cultural studies and affect theory to analyze how digital media are becoming more intimate and how in turn intimacy is remediated within digital cultures.This research brings together three different strategic examples of digital intimacy. The first is chosen from the context of online hate and harassment, and works to counteract digital forms of intimidation. The second is from the world of software development training initiatives tailored for women and designed to make them digitally intimate. The third investigates the digital subculture around ASMR (‘autonomous sensory meridian response’), which is an intimate multi-sensory stimulation induced by such things as online video clips.It is argued that these three initiatives are good illustrations of contemporary gender relations in digital cultures, and also do digital media differently. This  means that they develop and apply sometimes straightforward, sometimes rather playful strategies to counteract gender-based inimicalities (such as forms of discrimination or exclusion, or objectification) within digital cultures. The thesis argues that such digitally intimate strategies can be utilized analytically in order to contribute to contemporary feminist internet politics.

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