Presenters: Anna Gjika and Lynn Chancer
Time: 12pm, Wednesday, February 11, 2015
Location: Room 1631, Hunter West, Hunter College, 695 Park Ave., New York, NY 10065
Digital media platforms and technologies have emerged as a key medium for social interaction and facilitating the (re)production and (re)presentation of people’s selves and identities, including gender, sexual, class and racial identities. Teens and young adults in particular have embraced these new platforms as powerful spaces of learning, expression, socialization, and public engagement. Yet, while enabling youth access and empowerment, social media simultaneously provide new ways to threaten and marginalize, as evinced by sexually explicit or violent content produced by teens. For instance, in the last five years, teens in the U.S. have featured in over a dozen highly publicized incidents of group sexual assault captured and disseminated through digital media platforms and technologies.
Current research on sexual violence against women does not address the role of new media, or the uses of unauthorized images and videos to harass and bully victims. Similarly, criminology has been slow to study how new media intersect with violent or illegal youth practices, focusing primarily on new crimes technologies make possible rather than exploring the utility of digital media for performing deviant identities and implications for offending behavior. In this talk, I aim to bridge these gaps by exploring the relationship between new media, assault, and gender and sexuality performances through theoretical frameworks in masculinities studies, symbolic interaction, and deviance. This work is part of my larger dissertation project, which examines how digital media were used in cases of sexual assault featuring teens, its implications for sexual assault survivors and offenders, and the effect of the “digital trail” on news media and public discourses on rape and sexual assault, and responses by the criminal justice system and the law to such incidents.