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chapterposted on 2023-06-09, 18:19 authored by Victoria Jaynes
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 conceptualized 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 disembodied 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 theorizing 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 1970s and 1980s, new technologies were often framed as holding emancipatory potential despite enduring gender and power inequalities. Since the 1990s and as part of the continuing legacy of this earlier work, technologies have been increasingly understood as cultural products that are inherently gendered and therefore not free from the sociopolitical context of the design and engagement with technologies in everyday life.
- Accepted version
Book titleThe International Encyclopaedia of Gender, Media, and Communication
Department affiliated with
- Social Work and Social Care Publications
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