Queering Digital Subjectivities, Enacting Alternative Techno-Social Futures

Authors: Casey Lynch*, University of Arizona - Geography & Development
Topics: Social Theory, Qualitative Research, Gender
Keywords: Subjectivity; Digital Geographies; Feminist and Queer Theory; Futurity
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Roosevelt 4, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

This paper critically interrogates the differential production of digital subjectivities—approached as the ways individuals come to understand themselves and their agency in relation to digital objects and systems. While posthuman agency may be understood as complex and emergent, the hegemonic discourses of contemporary techno-capitalism continue to privilege de-politicized notions of technological knowledge and re-produce hierarchies of technological expertise that are intimately entangled in the reproduction of gender, race, age, ability, sexuality, and other markers of difference. These hierarchies significantly shape the way individuals and communities come to understand their position in relation to evolving digital technologies—as user, as object of surveillance, as skilled knowledge worker, etc. To approach the question of digital subjectivity, this paper employs Rosi Braidotti’s theorization of posthuman subjectivity—which explores how subjectivities are constituted differently in complex entanglements with an array of agential nonhuman others. I thus approach the queering of digital subjectivity as embodied practices through which individuals challenge and destabilize the relationships and privileged categories through which we understand ourselves as digital actors. I offer an empirical discussion of a grassroots movement in Barcelona focused on building alternative social, political, and economic relationships to technological objects and systems, examining the practices that queer established digital subjectivities—experimenting with new forms of posthuman relationality while enacting alternative techno-social futures.

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