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DÍA MUJER Y NIÑA EN LA CIENCIA, 9 FEB: Gender and class inequality in social networking sites

Prof. Núria Araüna, Department of Communication Studies at Rovira i Virgili University (Tarragona)

Feb 2, 2017

Location: ICMAB, Sala de Actos Carles Miravitlles

Abstract: Nowadays, almost every adolescent in Spain is a regular user of digital technologies and Internet communication based apps. The proficiency of young people in these self-generated media provides them with tools to build their own identities online and negotiate their relationships with peers. However, the cyber-utopias, which predicted that the Internet would become a tool able to overcome the inequalities based on the body, failed to grasp how the online world has in fact emerged as a place where adolescents’ (and adults’) bodies are used as commodities. The providers of social networking services get their content from their users’ bodies and their activities, where users are rewarded if they perform their gender identities appropriately. Therefore, and regarding the (traditional) cultural understanding of gender difference (femininities and masculinities), the Internet has become a showcase which displays corporal capital and reproduces gender stereotypes and ideologies of inequality. Moreover, an intersectional approach will be taken in order to consider how cultural capital and social class participate to the stigmatisation of specific kinds of femininity and, at the same time, how this stigmatisation and social distinction contributes to dialectics of resistance between social groups. The session will based on the research conducted by me and my colleagues (Iolanda Tortajada, Cilia Willem, Lucrecia Crescenzi) these last years. During the talk, we will be able to discuss qualitative methodologies, patriarchal values in research and contemporary culture, and how risk assessment of adolescents’ use of the Internet should take into account the perils caused by taken-for-granted knowledge. When this research began, in 2008, we wanted to deepen into the cultural causes of gender violence; we will talk about what young people’s activities in social networking sites can tell us about it.

Short bio: Núria Araüna is a lecturer on Media Studies and a researcher at the Department of Communication Studies at Rovira i Virgili University (Tarragona). She holds a Media Studies BA degree, an Anthropology BA degree and her Ph. D. dissertation on gender representations and love relationships in Spanish music videos was awarded by the Catalan Audiovisual Council. Her current research focuses on adolescents’ use of social networking sites, gender relationships and representations online, and the prevention of violence through the construction of alternative masculinities and femininities. Besides, she is working on the representation of identities and social memory, as well as on political documentary.


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