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TechnAct: Transformations of struggle. Research cluster on gender, sexualities, emergent communities and technocultural assemblages

Across the globe, feminist, women’s rights, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, and intersex (LGBTQI) movements struggle against local, national and transnational violence, threats and norms. In complex and dangerous ways, struggles in different part of the world are frequently affected by local constraints and national structures. Simultaneously, a colonial order is reiterated which reproduces a notion of the West as the most progressive and advanced region in relation to genders and sexualities. To be sure, constructions of place and nationality are inseparable from struggles for social justice and from the conditions of social movements, who encounter multiple and diverse power hierarchies in various locations across the globe. Yet, in civil society today, new communities and groups of collective actors emerge in transnational space through digital technologies.

Inspired by these recent transformations, this project aims to illuminate these dynamics by investigating the relation between digital technologies and emergent communities in transnational space. The aim of the project is to create an interdisciplinary research cluster and to produce new knowledge of the impact of digital technologies on civil society engagement and on social movements. We attend to the interconnections between the social, the cultural and the digital – what we refer to as ‘technocultural assemblages.’ The project pioneers a novel interdisciplinary and comparative approach, bringing together digital research methods and multi-sited ethnographies.

Areas of particular interest for the project include, but are not limited to: 1) tracing viral social media campaigns for gender and sexual rights; 2) examining the impact of digital technologies in places where possibilities for collective action in civil society are limited, as for instance in authoritarian contexts; 3) digital forms of agency, especially the role of algorithms in campaigns for gender and sexual rights; 4) ethical dilemmas, risks and new kinds of resistance that emerge as the result of digital technologies in civil society contexts.

Today, we lack knowledge of how places, nations and borders are (re)constructed, how communities transform and groups of collective actors emerge through digital technology. We know even less of the risks and ethical dilemmas that arise as a result of these practices. This research cluster creates a cutting-edge interdisciplinary research venture at the interface between information systems, social and cultural theory and gender studies, connecting an interdisciplinary core group of researchers from the humanities, social sciences and technosciences. Our long-term goal is to become an international key player in research on globalization, technocultures, gender, sexualities and civil society.

Project leader: Mia Liinason (personal website)
Participants: Lena Martinsson, from the Department of Cultural Sciences and Lisen Selander from the Department of Applied IT
Project duration: 2019-2023
Funding: Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet)

Page Manager: Felicia Bigot Klinteberg|Last update: 2/20/2019
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