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To Transform the Body Online: Productions of subjectivity between the body and practices of written text in an online message board forum for self harm support
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
2012 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The question of the human biological body and technology has been of major concern within posthumanist theories emphasising the co-constituting relationship between materiality and social discourse for the productions of subjectivity. Online space cannot be thought of as liberating the mind from the materiality of the body, but instead seen as effected by the body and affecting the body in return. The philosophy of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari has been used to argue that the body is implicated in online practices for the productions of subjectivity within posthumanist discourses. In this theoretical master thesis, the aim is to investigate the productions and transformations of the subjectivity of self harm between the biological body of the subject and practices of written text in an online message board forum for self harm support. Methodologically, a functional hermeneutics is constructed from Deleuze and Guattari’s concept of the assemblage in order to engage empirical material generated from observations of the message board. The empirical material is interwoven with a theoretical exposition of Deleuze’s philosophy. By the concepts of force and affect, it is concluded that texts on the forum are constituted as bodies. However, the practices leading up to such constitution of bodies would not be considered corporeal. This is further theorised in the concept of the assemblage with particular emphasis on a proposed distinction in Deleuze’s philosophy between bodies and language. These bodies of texts function to create new forms of expressions and enunciations on the forum, and may theoretically be said to transform the biological body of the subject. The concept of expression functions to form the ethical backdrop to transformations of the body in the online space of enunciation. By the relations between bodies in the assemblage of self harm support, expression envelops these bodies in a supportive world. It is through the relations with other bodies in the assemblage that words form the expressive world that envelops all bodies in that world, thereby transforming them. This is further deepened by considering Deleuze’s ontology of the actual and the virtual, where it is proposed that online space is actual in that enunciations are materialised in bodies of texts which in turn create virtual ideas and new possibilities for expression and enunciation. It is argued both with and against posthumanist readings of Deleuze in regards to information technology that bodies and materiality are constituting factors of subjectivity along with language, insofar as the body is theorised as transformed incorporeally.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. , 71 p.
Keyword [en]
Assemblage, body, Deleuze, hermeneutics, online, self harm, subjectivity
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-77101OAI: diva2:529642
Social and Behavioural Science, Law
Available from: 2012-06-25 Created: 2012-05-31 Last updated: 2012-06-25Bibliographically approved

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