This is the first seminar in our Culture & Polity series, interrogating urgent questions of cultural change in the context of new forms of community, contemporary commodity forms and government policy.
This session will bring together a range of perspectives on the question of digitization and value, from the spheres of media and cultural studies, digital arts practice, and open source enterprise. To what extent do networked digital technologies enable new forms of human subjectivity, social organization and expressive new forms of culture? Do digital production tools and networked communications provide new modalities of intensity and sensation? Or do the materialities of digitization merely extend the field of neoliberal authority? Can technology offer new tools for building communities and potentially emancipate impoverished groups and environments? How do we conceive of value in a digital world?
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The emergence of discourses constructing the ‘new man’ and his wayward sibling, the ‘new lad’, are now firmly entrenched as subjects to be critiqued in media and cultural studies-informed teaching and research. Continuing to question how these discourses inform the performance of modern masculinities is thus central to a progressive gender politics.
This symposium will explore the extent to which heterosexual men have responded positively to the changing gender relations that inform contemporary social relations. Is it possible, for example, to identify a new form of heterosexual masculinity which is sufficiently self-reflexive not to be fearful of difference? Or are ‘straight’ men still anxious to construct and police boundaries between themselves and the queer or feminized other? And to what extent are men’s attitudes to gender and sexuality still shaped by questions of class, ethnicity and spatial proximity?
Continue reading Softer Masculinities