Oral Presentation Session
Reviewed by: Association for Queer Anthropology
Of interest to: Practicing and Applied Anthropologists, Teachers of Anthropology in Community Colleges, Students
Primary Theme: Identity and Equity
Secondary Theme: Technology
This panel contemplates the ways online spaces contribute to formations of gender and sexuality in the Global South. Much scholarship on social media has focused on the Global North, emphasizing the usefulness of these platforms for, among other things, political organizing (Juris, 2012), negotiating interpersonal relationships (Gershon, 2010), and as a testing ground for new and emerging subjectivities (Raun, 2015). Significantly less scholarly work has explored the impacts of social media use as it relates to situated ways of living gender and sexuality in the Global South, despite high rates of social media penetration in this region. Panelists will explore various articulations of gender and sexuality in online spaces as a mode of imagining the self—broadly understood—and associated phenomena such as subjectivity, futurity, and aspiration. In understanding online media as inextricable, rather than separate from “offline” experiences, subjectivities, and identities, these uses of social media may be key to understanding the ways in which individuals in the Global South engage with social media to manifest emergent forms of lived gender and sexuality both on- and offline.
The papers in the session vary greatly in geographical region, but maintain a common focus on the intersections between Global South realities, social media, and the construction and performance of gender and sexuality as they relate to the formation of the self. One paper analyzes the uses of social media for trans activism in Santiago de Chile, proposing the “archive of the self” as a useful analytic for social media use among marginalized populations. A second submission analyzes the mutually constitutive nature of intimate expression and political expression in social media use by Nepali teenagers. The third paper explores a unique social media platform for women that has emerged in China where Facebook and Twitter are banned. The final paper looks at the co-construction of masculinity, mestizaje and notions of nationalism tied up with modernity, as produced through memes in a peripheral zone of Chile. This panel seeks to destabilize the notion of social media as technologies of the Global North, proposing that their arrival in the Global South has led to unique and innovative constructions of gender, sexuality, and the self.