11:00am - 11:20am
Trust and intimacy in a networked culture: Relying on intimate partner violence frameworks to understand technology-based abuse
Arizona State University, United States of America
Digital devices and online sociality are changing the way that intimate and romantic relationships are experienced (Miguel, 2018). Gender-based violence theories can be used to better understand online experiences that are perceived as abusive behaviors and recognize offline danger for adults, and especially intimate partner violence survivors (Dragiewicz, Burgess, Matamoros-Fernández, Salter, Suzor, Woodlock, & Harris, 2018). Technology-based abuse is explained using exploratory data from domestic violence survivors and using Johnson’s typologies of intimate partner violence (Johnson, 2006).
Study participants were also asked exploratory questions about how technology-abuse manifested in their relationships. Participants (N = 249) were women clients from domestic violence programs in a large southwestern U.S. city. Using a Pearson's Chi-Square test, models examined the associations of technology-based abuse experiences and: physical abuse, severe abuse, and lethality risk.
Findings demonstrated an overlap between experiences of offline abuse and technology-based abuse. Those that experience physical abuse are 11.5 times more likely to experience online monitoring/control and 4.5 times more likely to experience direct aggression through mediated communications. Lastly, findings demonstrate a significant association between lethality risk and direct aggression via mediated communications, 𝒳2 (1) = 8.585, p = .003. Those with high lethality risk are 4.6 times more likely to experience online direct aggression. Findings demonstrated associations between categorically dangerous abuse and technology-based abuse. To address the most dangerous threats within our online social systems we should pay careful attention to patterns of abuse, control, and violence from intimate partners especially those fitting the intimate terrorism archetype.
11:20am - 11:40am
“The pussy ain’t worth it bro”: linking toxic masculinity with online harassment within the Men Going Their Own Way subgroup of the Manosphere
1The University of Melbourne, Australia; 2Monash University
In the wake of the #MeToo movement, conversations about misogynistic attitudes and corresponding online harassment and violence against women have come to the forefront of public attention. Especially prevalent in online harassment against women is toxic masculinity, which legitimises male dominance and can result in violent behaviour. The Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOW) movement is an exemplar of toxic masculinity and its relationship with online harassment. This study aims to investigate the connection between online harassment and toxic masculinity within the MGTOW movement using a multi-phase quantitative research methodology based on the deductive and inductive coding of Twitter content. The results reveal that the online harassment deployed almost exclusively fell into four categories, which were directly related to the MGTOW ideology. MGTOWs believe four fundamental things about women, that they are submissive, inferior, sexual objects and self-serving. Significantly, it was found that the existing definition of toxic masculinity is missing categories of behaviour, specifically general sexism, emasculation, anti-feminism and LGBTQI-based discrimination. The discovery of these additional categories provides a more detailed and nuanced understanding of the complexities of toxic masculinity. Overall, the findings from this research demonstrate that there is a strong connection between the beliefs of MGTOW and the characteristics of toxic masculinity. Similarly, a strong link between online harassment and the expression of toxic masculinity was discovered.
11:40am - 12:00pm
Heaven is a place online: Embodiment and belonging in the digital/material landscape
The Australian National University, Australia
This paper examines the ways in which space and place figure in queer belonging and relationality in a digital/material environment. Here, I explore how depictions of space - such as maps - can produce ‘objectivity’, such that the relationality and political dimensions of embodied encounters in the world are erased or diminished. I argue that the dichotomous positioning of the on/offline binary works to reify the latter as natural or authentic and therefore politically neutral space. This neutral rendering of ‘physical’ (that is, ‘offline’) space obscures the ways in which the on/offline are messily entangled and always produced and experienced through and under the weight of capitalism. That is to say, our understanding of space as ‘authentic’, or not, is central to the ways in which bodies are assigned social value within the digital/material landscape. The paper draws on narrative fiction based on participant observation and interviews to produce an account of embodiment, fatness, accessibility and queerness at A-Camp and Autostraddle.com more broadly. I argue that both the digital and material are imagined as utopian spaces in ways that ignore the material stickiness and slipperiness of bodies. That is, the celebration of the utopic potential of either on or offline spaces, each painted as uniquely ‘authentic’, obscures the ways in which both are central to the capitalist organisation of certain bodies as more socially valuable than others.
12:00pm - 12:20pm
Every Bit in its Place: The Politics of Decluttering in Digital Minimalism
University of Jyväskylä, Finland
In 1995, cyberutopian Nicholas Negroponte proselytized about how digitizing our lives and selves could replace atoms with the weightlessness of bits. Two decades later, many feel crushed by the profusion of these bits in the form of apps, accounts, feeds, and notifications cluttering their home screens and headspace. Responding to intensifying mediatized narratives about distraction, addiction, and anxiety that pathologize cultures of online connection, some are adopting practices of mindful non-use known as “digital minimalism” or “wellness.” Differing from spatiotemporal restrictions such as unplugging or detoxing, these individualizing practices are exercised through curatorial choices guided by the quest for negative space, which extends from online activities into a whole way of life. What practices and principles differentiate digital decluttering from detoxing, and how do these spatial and biological metaphors structure possibilities for expanding mindfulness from individual practices into collective politics? This study is a critical discourse analysis of metaphors in print and online writings about digital minimalism. Insulated by the digital habitus, minimalism individualizes the concerns of platform society into a technique of the self. Prosaic rituals of unsubscribing, unfriending, and deleting atomize users within self-disciplinary in addition to surveillant enclosures. This analysis suggests that discourses of digital detoxing, digital wellbeing, and digital minimalism are articulated through metaphorical schemas of spatiotemporal suspension, management, and curation of technology use, respectively. Detoxing, wellbeing, and minimalism operate through metaphors of disconnection that imagine media as alimentary, rudimentary, and environmental, respectively. Confronting these metaphors offers discursive resources for channeling lifestyle philosophies into shared politics.