Exploring Digital Culture (Lecture 5)

Digital Subjectivity


  • Subjective: own experience, how we see something
  • Objective: fact, things to be discover
  • Who am I? different roles act in different ways (e.g. daughter, sister, partner, lecturer, researcher)

What possibilities are open to us?

  • Historical
  • Social
  • Cultural
  • Who we are and how we act is always contingent on other things

Subject to…?

  • act in different ways according to different roles and subject to different expectations, conventions, behaviours

What outside forces act upon us to shape us?

  • Consider how institutions shape us into certain subject positions
  • How are these enforced?
  • How are they complicated?
  • How do they change?
  • Criminal
  • Consumer
  • Student
  • Husband/ Wife
  • Tax payer
  • Voter
  • Immigrant

Some of the biggies…

  • Most discussed aspects: race, gender, sexuality and class
  • so much of the understanding and negotiations areas is through specific social engagements and institutionalised understandings
  • We are subject to certain implications or understandings of self


  • White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by Peggy McIntosh
  • “I was taught to see racism only in individual acts of meanness, not in invisible systems conferring dominance on my group”


  • The male gaze
  • Sexual imbalance
  • women are simultaneously looked at and displayed → connote to-be-looked-at-ness
  • “Woman displayed as sexual object is the leit-motif of erotic spectacle: from pin-ups to strip- tease, from Ziegfeld to Busby Berkeley, she holds the look, plays to and signifies male desire.” (Mulvey 1975)
  • “Male characters are stereotypically hypermasculine and female characters are hypersexualized” (Pulos 2013: 79)


  • Biological sexuality is only a precondition
  • Heteronormativity
  • Works on the basis of fixed, binary gender positions
  • Fixed “roles” – masculinity and femininity
  • Assumes that heterosexuality is the “norm”


  • Categorising social groups according to hierarchies of wealth, occupation, taste and culture
  • Lower class → lower level of expectation/ taste
  • Class in education → public school: free/ private school: nice but have to pay

Digital Subjectivity

  • “Virtual” worlds are only virtual in a limited sense; real-world issues can and do impinge on the fantasy landscape of games such as WoW” (Anderson 2006 quoted in Pulos 2013)
  • “Digital worlds do not have to adhere to any specific formula or organization, and yet ideological constraints have seeped into its very existence and frameworks.” (Pulos 2013: 78-79)