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Whores, hijabs and heart emojis: Affective explorations of aggression against girls online
Stockholms universitet, Samhällsvetenskapliga fakulteten, Barn- och ungdomsvetenskapliga institutionen.ORCID-id: 0000-0003-4733-6487
2020 (Engelska)Doktorsavhandling, sammanläggning (Övrigt vetenskapligt)
Abstract [en]

This netnography studies the interactions of 150 interconnected users aged between 11 and 15 years old on a popular social networking site (SNS) among youth in Sweden. More specifically, the thesis explores articulations of and responses to aggression that target young girls online. Adopting an affect theoretical approach inspired by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s philosophy and feminist materialist scholarship on youth, the thesis examines how bodies, objects and technologies encounter and affect each other identifying how girls’ capacities are limited and increased through aggressive exchanges online. This compilation thesis consists of an introduction and three empirical articles.        

The first article draws on the concept of affective atmospheres to explore the users’ articulated experiences of aggressive practices in this online space. The findings suggest that what the youth framed as ‘hate’ worked through an affective regime which hinged on temporalized norms tied to notions of age and bodily growth, that is, through heteronormative expectations of femininity, masculinity, sexuality and age-appropriateness. The article details how affordances such as anonymity facilitated and intensified the circulation of hate, feeding into an atmosphere of constant risk. In this specific online context, sexualized aggression seemed to be normalized and expected, but was nonetheless also troubled and fiercely resisted by the girls that were targeted and their peers.

The second article explores the affectivity of the sexualized epithet ‘whore’ in the users’ interactions. The findings illustrate the ambiguous, messy and entangled ways that slut-shaming and sexualized name-calling worked to inhibit girls’ affective capacities, and how acts of individual and collective resistance opened up new potential sexual subjectivities. The analysis depicts how users’ counter-aggression to sexualized name-calling adopted a ‘post-feminist logic’ that supported the continued policing of girls.

The third article traces how racial minority girls and their peers responded to and resisted racialization and racist aggression. The findings elucidate how racist events affectively worked to limit racialized girls’ capacities to act, but also sparked various forms of resistance that were facilitated by the materiality and affordances of the SNS. The analysis further illustrates how users rejected, re-appropriated and renegotiated racist assemblages where differing racialized figures were affectively produced and enforced in direct and indirect ways. The article thus sheds light on resistance not as a conscious act by an individual agent but as being contingent on the assemblage relations within which users were embedded.

In conclusion, this thesis illustrates how the intensification of affect in this online space hinged on intersections of identity categories such as sexuality, gender, age, class, race and religion, which limited and enhanced the girls’ capacities to act, feel and affect in various ways. The thesis further shows how technological affordances facilitated the circulation and intensification of aggression but also how they worked to facilitate counteraggression, resistance and a culture of support. The thesis thus sheds light on how online contention works to condition girls’ everyday lives online across a range of social categories and inequalities in temporalized ways, yet also how violent practices are inextricable from love and friendship.

Ort, förlag, år, upplaga, sidor
Stockholm: Department of Child and Youth Studies, Stockholm University , 2020. , s. 153
Nyckelord [en]
girls, youth, online aggression, online hate, sexualized aggression, cyberbullying, netnography, social media, racialization, resistance, youth cultural studies, child and youth studies, affect theory, Deleuze and Guattari, new materialism, internet studies
Nationell ämneskategori
Utbildningsvetenskap
Forskningsämne
barn- och ungdomsvetenskap
Identifikatorer
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-184434ISBN: 978-91-7911-280-6 (tryckt)ISBN: 978-91-7911-281-3 (digital)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-184434DiVA, id: diva2:1461316
Disputation
2020-10-09, hörsalen, BUV 110, Frescati backe, Svante Arrhenius väg 21 A, Stockholm, 13:00 (Engelska)
Opponent
Handledare
Tillgänglig från: 2020-09-16 Skapad: 2020-08-26 Senast uppdaterad: 2022-10-21Bibliografiskt granskad
Delarbeten
1. Affective Atmospheres of Sexualized Hate Among Youth Online: A Contribution to Bullying and Cyberbullying Research on Social Atmosphere
Öppna denna publikation i ny flik eller fönster >>Affective Atmospheres of Sexualized Hate Among Youth Online: A Contribution to Bullying and Cyberbullying Research on Social Atmosphere
2019 (Engelska)Ingår i: International Journal of Bullying Prevention, ISSN 2523-3653, Vol. 1, s. 269-284Artikel i tidskrift (Refereegranskat) Published
Abstract [en]

In this study, I will introduce the concept of affective atmospheres previously developed by Anderson (Emot Space Soc 2:77–81, 2009) and Anderson and Ash (2015), to explore young social media users’ articulated experiences of aggressive behaviour on a popular social networking site in Sweden. This concept opens up for inquiring into bullying, and other aggressive behaviour, as encounters, not only between humans, but also with non-human bodies, and the potentialities to act and the affective states that such meetings enable. In this way the paper contributes to bullying research on school climate and social atmosphere. The paper applies an affect theory approach to atmosphere to explore the importance of different materialities for the production of feelings and emotions surrounding the everyday articulations of hate among these users. The findings suggest that hate, in this context, works through a sexualized and gendered affective regime, which enforces a chrononormative logic, through which temporalized norms are tied to notions of age and bodily growth, that is, through heteronormative expectations of femininity, masculinity, sexuality and age-appropriateness. I found that affordances such as anonymity facilitated and intensified the circulation of hate, feeding into an atmosphere of constant risk. However, I also detail how affordances such as anonymity and hyperlinking, and practices such as hashtagging, enabled expressions of friendship, love and support, thus counter-balancing an atmosphere of hate and enabling it to become bearable for certain targeted users. In this context, sexualized aggression is normalized and expected, but nonetheless also troubled and resisted by these young users. By applying the concept of atmosphere, the paper sheds light on the affective workings within social online settings that become saturated with sexualized and aggressive practices, where certain users become repeated targets of such practices.

Nyckelord
cyberbullying, online hate, sexualized aggression, atmosphere, affect, youth, girls
Nationell ämneskategori
Socialantropologi
Forskningsämne
barn- och ungdomsvetenskap
Identifikatorer
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-184431 (URN)10.1007/s42380-019-00044-4 (DOI)2-s2.0-85096196653 (Scopus ID)
Tillgänglig från: 2020-08-26 Skapad: 2020-08-26 Senast uppdaterad: 2022-10-21Bibliografiskt granskad
2. Whore! Affect, sexualized aggression and resistance in young social media users’ interaction
Öppna denna publikation i ny flik eller fönster >>Whore! Affect, sexualized aggression and resistance in young social media users’ interaction
2020 (Engelska)Ingår i: Sexualities, ISSN 1363-4607, E-ISSN 1461-7382, Vol. 23, nr 5-6, s. 971-986Artikel i tidskrift (Refereegranskat) Published
Abstract [en]

In this article we explore the affectivity of the sexualized epithet ‘whore’ when employed by 150 young social media users in Sweden. By adopting a Deleuze-Guattarian inspired approach to affect we illustrate how ‘whore’ works to restrict and inhibit girls’ affective capacities within the online sexuality assemblage. We further explore targets’ and peers’ resistance to being called whore. We found that targets and peers alike employ aggressive and sexualized language to rebuke and resist the term whore. We argue that these acts of resistance may serve to further support the postfeminist logic and values that underpin the continued monitoring of girls.

Nyckelord
Affect, resistance, sexuality, social media, youth
Nationell ämneskategori
Psykologi Medie- och kommunikationsvetenskap
Forskningsämne
barn- och ungdomsvetenskap
Identifikatorer
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-173701 (URN)10.1177/1363460719872727 (DOI)000488447400001 ()
Tillgänglig från: 2019-09-30 Skapad: 2019-09-30 Senast uppdaterad: 2022-10-21Bibliografiskt granskad
3. ‘Fuck Them Walla’: Girls’ resistance within racialized online assemblages
Öppna denna publikation i ny flik eller fönster >>‘Fuck Them Walla’: Girls’ resistance within racialized online assemblages
(Engelska)Ingår i: Artikel i tidskrift (Refereegranskat) Submitted
Abstract [en]

Taking an affect theoretical approach inspired by Deleuze and Guattari, this paper details how racial minority youth, and those around them, affectively respond to and resist racialization and different forms of racist aggression online. The material draws on a larger netnographic study of young teens on a public social media platform in Sweden. I will examine opposition to a racialized assemblage in which these youth are ‘othered’ through direct, indirect and repeated aggression. I explore how these instances of resistance work in various ways to reject, re-appropriate and renegotiate racist assemblages where differing racialized figures are affectively produced and enforced in direct and indirect ways in the online interaction. This study contributes to knowledge on the experiences of racialized youth online, as well as how racism works affectively in everyday online interaction among young people.

Nyckelord
affect theory, new materialism, racist aggression, racialized assemblages, racism, resistance, social media, youth
Nationell ämneskategori
Samhällsvetenskap Humaniora och konst
Identifikatorer
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-184432 (URN)
Tillgänglig från: 2020-08-26 Skapad: 2020-08-26 Senast uppdaterad: 2022-10-21

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Sylwander, Kim R.

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