Exploring Digital Culture (Lecture 6)

Posthuman Subjectivity

What is posthumanism?

  • Multifaceted
  • Many different uses
  • Different contexts (lots of different feels)
  • Permeability
  • Rejection of anthropocentrism
  • Reconsidering the place of the “human”

Rethinking of the liberal, human subject

  • Could vote
  • Own land and properties
  • White
  • Male
  • Able bodied
  • Heterosexual
  • Class based

Rethinking of the idea of a fixed, bounded self

  • Affect
  • Embodiment
  • Permeability
  • Different subjectivities
  • Interacting
  • We are constantly changed by what is around us

Rethinking anthropocentrism – We are the centre, everything is all around us

  • Animal
  • Earth
  • Machine
  • What make someone rights?

All human should have the same rights. How about animals? We can extend rights to animals.

‘Post-anthropocentrism displaces the notion of a species hierarchy and of a single, common standard for “Man” as the measure of all things. In the ontological gap thus opened, other species come galloping in.’ (Braidotti 2013: 67)

Posthuman Subjects

Relationships with Technology

  • A phone is not just an object
  • It has photos/connections/memories
  • It is about the way what it is upon us
  • How the media shape humanity


  • Technology allow us to overcome ourselves
  • It can solve our problems as human
  • It do not have boundaries/barriers


  • How we expect more to technology and less to each other
  • Loss our humanity

‘resistance to both the fatal attraction of nostalgia and the fantasy of transhumanist and other techno-utopias’ (Braidotti 2013: 90 )


‘human functionality expands because the parameters of the cognitive system it inhabits expand’ (Hayles 1999: 290- 291)


‘we were always posthuman’ (Tufekci 2012: 34)


Self and Other Gradually Blur

‘a displacement of the lines of demarcation between structural differences, or ontological categories, for instance between the organic and the inorganic, the born and the manufactured, flesh and metal, electronic circuits and organic nervous systems.’ (Braidotti 2013: 89)

‘an amalgam, a collection of heterogeneous components, a material-informational entity whose boundaries undergo continuous construction and reconstruction’ (Hayles 1999: 3)


What makes a human “human”?

  • To be creative (from inspiration by feeling/seeing/reading something)
  • Emotion
  • Critical thinking
  • Interacting

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)

Exploring Digital Culture (Lesson 3)

Networked Affect


Affect and Embodiment

Turn to Affect

  • Bring the body back into the picture
  • body ofter reacts first
  • There are limits to what “objectivity” and “representation” in research can account for
  • Feminist
  • Body is always in a world – the body is always experiencing something, always bringing our experiences and subjectivity to something → how we think about something and how we effected by something
  • What we think → What we feel

Affection Reactions

  • Touch → Experience → React
  • Mind and body act against each other

Defining Affect

  • Being affected is about being moved
  • Visceral
  • Bodily
  • Automatic
  • Reactive – creates a network
  • Intense
  • Forces that act upon us
  • We act upon others
  • Openness
  • Participation

Linked to Emotion

  • Beyond: emotion → making sense of feeling
  • Before: feeling → emotion
  • More than an emotion (Hillis 75)

How we Extend Outwards is also Affective

  • How we extends outwards into tools and instruments
  • Affect also looks at how we extend into our environments

Affective Environments

  • Awkward – environment can be affective → you feel something wrong when you enter to a room which is full of people

Affective Connections

  • When we go to night club and dance with others, we do not concern about our body
  • When we see others laugh, we also laugh
  • When we affected by something, our body is reacting to something

Self and Other

  • Affect is a post-personal force exceeding the human. (Wetherell 2012: 59)

Social Networks

  • Relationships of individuals – who is talking to whom, who is communicating with whom on a regular basis

Networked Affect

  • We experience horror while we are playing zombie game
  • Accumulating Affect – Like/comment on social media is our reaction
  • We use emoji to express our reaction which is difficult to explain in words
  • Experiencing affect in the physical world happens online too


Exploring Digital Culture (Lecture 2)

Digital Embodiment

Cartesian Dualism: I think, therefore I am.

What is it to be embodied?

  • Plasticity → both biological limb + artificial tool
  • Extend beyond boundary
  • Retract behind the epidermal one
  • Externalising → what is in our mind, in our brain

In what ways are you extended beyond your skin?

  • Social media → expend our boundary


  • We are as hybrids of machine and organism

Hayles: “Human being is first of all embodied being.”


Self-Reflection of Community


Community is a group of independent people living in the same place or having common rights, values and interests. It is a powerful force behind the development of an individual and each individual can be part of one or more communities. For me, I am part of the community of Hong Kong, the community of Coventry University and the Christian community.

Apart from the concrete communities, online communities also become more and more popular. Members in online community interact with each other through Internet. People can join their communities via social networking sites, forums, blogs, video games, online games and so on. They can post, comment, react, chat or like for others. They may also feel like home in some online communities because there are invisible friends and family.


msn-messengerI began to use Internet since I was a primary school student and started to join different online communities at that time. Almost 10 years ago, online chat room was very popular among teenagers. I think everyone should know MSN, which is an instant messaging program. It allows us to have online chatting with friends or even strangers. Everyday when I back home after school, I turned on the computer and login MSN immediately to see who were online, so that I can chat with them. It was the largest entertainment for me and my friends. I thought MSN was an amazing platform because it was a new technology to us. We could play games, send images, text, audio or even video to others, and this real-time online chat provided the opportunity for us to interact with people without time and space constraint. However, due to the intense competition, MSN was replaced by other messaging programs and social media, and it closed 2 years ago. Most of the users felt depress about this and we think that this was the end of an era, especially among the 90’s generation.

ourbrands_neopets_03Besides, I used to participate in NeoPets, which is a virtual pet website. Every users in this community have to own virtual pets and buy virtual items for them to raise their pets. This can help us to build responsibility. In this community, we called this virtual world as “Neopia” and called other users as “Neofriends”. We play games together, and discuss with each other in the hub or Neoboards (a public discussion board) as well.  There are also some guilds for groups of users with similar interests to chat in their own message board. All of the users have to follow the same family’s rules in this community. It also furthers my real world communication with others since we have common topics to talk about, such as the skills and experience of raising pets. This is another memory for the 90’s generation. Although we can still play NeoPets nowadays, it is not as common as before.

Social Media Logotype Background

As I said that social media is increasingly powerful, it is today’s most common online community. Now, I have left the above two online communities and entered into some new worlds. On one hand, I am part of some communities in social networking sites, like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat. I can share my own thought and media works, such as photos and video via these social network. The mutual aspects of these sites are users can share and exchange our opinions as well as to give suggestions to others immediately. We can also have the rights to select and edit posts. The functions of like and comment allow us to have instant respond to other users. If I can receive more likes and comments in these sites, I would be more satisfactory and prideful, which is the feeling that I can mostly gain from online communities. And I think the greatest advantage of online communities is that we can immediately receive information and instantly communicate with other members. In addition, if I rise a question in online communities, I can always find the answer very quickly because there are many other members who are good at different aspects willing to reply me, and vice versa. Therefore, this is another way for me to teach and learn from one another.

resurrectionOn the other hand, yesterday was my first time to enter into World of Warcraft and I feel really wonderful. I used a lot of time to look around this fantastic world. The graphic in this game is very authentic. This makes me feel like in the real world. As this is my first time to play online game, I was a bit confused of how to play the game. Being a newbie of this whole new world, I did not know what should I do and even how to move. Yet, after a round of exploration, I noticed that what are my tasks. I try to accomplish all of the missions and to move towards the goals. After I entered into the world, I found that there are a lot of other characters to help me finish my tasks. It makes me feel warm and joyful in this world. It is one of the characteristics that I can find in this online community and this enhanced my belonging to World of Warcraft. Besides, when I finish the task every time, I would have great sense of satisfaction because I can do it and I can have some rewards after that, i.e. new tools and level up. Therefore, I believe I have the ability to change the world in this virtual reality and I hope I can change the real world with this belief as well.

five_obstaclesBeing part in different communities, we can gain both physical and psychological assistance and support from other members, so that we can deal with different challenges. To make use of today’s technology, we can also join different online communities to communicate with people who are in different cultures from all over the world. We would no longer be alone and would have happier live because communities would give the sense of belonging and attachment to each individual.




Exploring Digital Cultures (Lecture 1)

Module Ethos

  • Engage/ work hard/ learn from each other/ don’t be late



  • Family
  • love
  • safety
  • warm
  • happiness

Interests and/or Ideology?

  • Love tomato → full of love, exciting, care about others
  • Love media → like to explore, engage
  • Study in university → care about brian, love to learn, better myself, improve language


  • Keep in touch/ keep contact/ communicate with each other


Active vs. Passive

  • Can be in a community no matter active or passive
  • You are still part of it
  • Just a different personality

%e4%b8%8b%e8%bc%89Benefits of Community

  • How do communities benefit the media?
  • Different target audience for different news/ media company
  • Social organization

Benefits of Online Community

  • Liberating
  • The site becomes a common factor (everyone is equal)
  • Rejects authority…even what it then reorganizes and structure it again

Communities Online

  • How have online communities changed our sense of “belonging”?
  • No isolation
  • Increase sense of belonging/ attachment