Humiliation and the affective obligation of the social: Putting the social back into social media

Cefai, Sarah. 2019. 'Humiliation and the affective obligation of the social: Putting the social back into social media'. In: Understanding the Social in a Digital Age: An Interdisciplinary One Day Conference on Technology, Media, and the Social. University of East Anglia, United Kingdom 8 January 2019. [Conference or Workshop Item]

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Abstract or Description

This paper examines the nature of the bond, contract, or trust that animates ‘the social’ in social media. Drawing on my research into the affective and discursive structure of humiliation, this examination is based on the premise that this bond is at stake in the reanimation of the social by social media: it is this bond that humiliation breaks. But humiliation too makes the social anew, in its threat and its consequences. The patterning of humiliation as an affective cluster not only results from but underpins many of the social media contexts we encounter. This means that a deeper understanding of the social in social media must realise both the affective nature of social bonds as well as the structures of identity from which these bonds stem. The paper therefore revises our conceptualisation of this bond in social and cultural theory given the specific ways in which social media mediate affect, as well as anticipates the technological determinism we risk in the disciplinary trend towards the study of data and the algorithm. By ‘putting the social back into social media,’ we must grapple with the role of the social articulation of algorithmic cultures in changes to the cultural politics of identity.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)

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Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Media, Communications and Cultural Studies


8 January 2019Completed

Event Location:

University of East Anglia, United Kingdom

Date range:

8 January 2019

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Date Deposited:

25 Nov 2022 09:24

Last Modified:

25 Nov 2022 09:34


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