CFP: Sexualities and digital culture in Europe



Organized by the Gender and Communication Section and Digital Culture and Communication Section


Past decades, media and communication studies have been focusing on the study of sexuality in media, representations, and have been exploring audiences’ interpretations of mass-produced media and popular culture texts. However, current ontological changes in the processes of mass communications, the shift from one-to-many to many-to-many communicative infrastructures, multiplied the institutional, technological and symbolic dimensions when inquiring into sexualities and media, communications and culture. The digitization of sexuality – which refers to changing attitudes, experiences and practices to sexualities because of digital media – demands that scholars look beyond the well-established frameworks to study sexuality and media, expanding their methodological and theoretical perspectives in order to fully comprehend sexual life-worlds and the digital.

The focus of this symposium is on sexual politics in and around the digital, which means a critical understanding of sexualities in European digital culture. Thereby, focusing on changes in sexual life-worlds, but also continuities; how are certain intimate sexualities valued, while others are stigmatized? How are diverse sexual life-worlds flourishing in the digital public sphere, or how are diverse sexual life-worlds protested, controlled, managed or strictly regulated? To answer such questions, this symposium is interested in contributions dealing with processes of power that are currently surrounding the digital and sexualities. The symposium will focus on three key areas:

(1) sexual experiences, practices and digital culture,
(2) intimate/sexual citizenship and the digital, and
(3) online sexual content and representations.

The emphasis is on research exploring sexual politics, challenges, opportunities and continuities surrounding the digital, with a specific focus on European contexts and that reflect, from diverse viewpoints, on the European sphere. This includes taking into account the specific European socio-cultural, political-economic and legal contexts. We particularly welcome contributions on topical matters in European societies and politics, among which: the regulation of online pornographic content in discussions on sexuality, children and the internet, LGBTQ challenges and opportunities related to the digital, the rise of conservative grass-roots movements in Europe that protest against what is called ‘gender ideology’ (such movements question and protest pro-gender equality legislations, abortion laws, same-sex marriage laws and transgender laws, while advocating for traditional family values and ‘restoring’ the naturalness of male and female bodies).


To encourage debate and fortify coherence, all presenters will be able to attend all panels. Instead of parallel sessions, the conference program will consist of plenary panel sessions and keynote presentations. We invite presentation proposals that are engaged in understanding sexualities in European digital culture. Topics in relation to the theme may include (but are not limited to):

Regarding “sexual experiences, practices and digital culture”:

  • Sexual self-representational practices and intimate storytelling

  • Mobile media and sexuality (e.g. digital cruising, hook-up apps, sexting)

  • Adolescents, young people and children

  • Aging, sexualities and digital media culture

  • Gendered experiences and practices in and around digital sexual culture

  • Virtual intimacies, desires and affect

  • Shame and sexualities

  • Cybersexualities and sex without bodies

  • Games and sexualities

  • Technological affordances, algorithms and data

  • Digital technologies, methods and the study of sexuality

Regarding “intimate/sexual citizenship and the digital”:

  • Social media activism and protest

  • Online surveillance of sexualities

  • Regulating sexualities in a digital context

  • Homonationalism online

  • Online sexual communities

  • Sexual literacies

  • Gendered inequalities in digital sexual culture

  • Transnational sexual conflicts and the digital

  • Ethical and moral aspects of the digital and sexuality

Regarding “online sexual content and representations”:

  • Digital fan practices of sexual mass-media content and popular culture

  • Online pornography

  • Sexual self-representations

  • Politics of visibility in digital culture

  • Sexualization and pornofication in digital media culture

  • Sexual scandals in a digital context

Application procedure

All proposals should be submitted in English. Please submit an abstract of 350 words with a brief biographical note up to 150 words.

Proposals must be submitted by 02/02/2017 to (sexualitydigitalculture@gmail.com). Presenters whose proposals are accepted will be notified by 24/02/2017.

Keynote Speaker: Professor Susanna Paasonen

Susanna Paasonen is a professor of media studies at University of Turku, Finland. Her work focuses on internet research, affect theory, pornography, materiality and media. Her most recent work deals with the affective dimensions of technological failure, monster toon porn, theories of boredom and distraction connected to networked media, and the notion of sexual play.

Conference location

Faculty of Communication and Media Studies, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens

Scientific committee: Despina Chronaki, Sander De Ridder, Frederik Dhaenens, Aristea Fotopoulou, Ana Jorge, Marco Scarcelli



Stránka MedKult navazuje jmenovitě i obsahem na vrstevnaté štěpení kultury v různých prizmatech jejího zkoumání. Volně se proto zařazuje k termínům jako highcult, masscult, midcult, popcult a dalším, které slouží k pojmenování právě těchto kulturních vrstev. MedKult je platformou interdisciplinárního zkoumání napříč zejména dvěma obory, těmi jsou kulturální studia a mediální studia.

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