Strand 3

Critiques and strategies of mediation, representation, and digital technologies

Coordinators: Arianna Mainardi, University of Milano-Bicocca; Nina Ferrante, ULiège; Åsa Ekvall, independent researcher; Domitilla (domi) Olivieri, Utrecht University.

→ abstracts to be sent to:, 

The conference raises the general question on what it means to imagine, to enact and to analyse “social change” from a feminist perspective. This conference-strand focuses on how media and the process of digitalisation contribute to the production and contestation of the spaces/relations/canons we inhabit individually and collectively. Especially the last year(s) of pandemic have made the use of digital media a constitutive part of the process of subjectivation and the construction of the public sphere, even more crucial. 

Media and digital media in particular are often analysed in mainstream scholarship as well as in popular culture and journalism, either as exploitative tools that mine data, are vulnerable to hacking, violate our privacy, manipulate the so-called public opinion, and expose minorities and oppressed groups to online violence /aggression; or they are praised as tools which can enable unlimited access to information, as a medium for ‘democratic’ freedom of expression and free speech, that are the beacon of a teleological future of progress and speed, or are the battleground for recognition and (self)representation.

In this framework, the longstanding idea that new technologies are linked to novelty, innovation and acceleration crashes against the material impossibility for public discourse and institutions to guarantee a ‘good and productive’ idea of the future. (Digital) Media participate in the production of the current, colonial, patriarchal meanings associated with time on a large scale. But precarious communities and subjectivities have always experienced the non-linearity of time associated with hetero-cis-white-middleclass-white-able idea of progress. As decolonial, feminist, queer scholars and activists we are interested in how within the ambivalences of contemporary (digital) media could emerge imaginaries, practices, narratives, and figurations that point to alternative ways of being in the world and relating to each other, and go towards other ways of relating to temporal horizons of (cyber-)feminist and non-dystopian ecologies.

Recently, feminist, transfeminist and queer critiques and practices of resistance have been directed towards digital platforms and the way in which they produce new mechanisms of the extraction of value along with data exploitation. This logic of extraction not only pertains to the exploitation of labour, but to processes of self-representation and desires (such as in social platforms and dating apps). The pandemic scenario has accelerated even more those dynamics of neoliberal extractive capitalism. At the same time, formal and informal online networks, that have been strengthened to bridge the physical distance in everyday life, are experimenting with other practices and strategies of care and participation.

Against this background, this strand invites papers and panels from a wide range of (inter)disciplines, both empirical and theoretical contributions, on topics which include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Affordances and constraints of digital platforms 

  • Cyberfeminist legacies (hacklab, hacktivism)

  • Alternative media industries, representations and networks

  • Feminist networking, digital activism and collective action in pandemic time 

  • Transfeminist critiques to computational culture (big data, creative methodologies, ethics)

  • Mediated articulation of the affective and intimate everyday life (dating app, family, friendship, alternative intimacies and radical kinships)

  • The complexities of feminist communication and knowledge exchanges across academic and non academic spaces (e.g.: issues of accessibility, production, and dissemination)

  • Community media

  • Normative regime of (in)visibility and resistance (representation, self-representation, disidentifications)

  • Critical takes on the popularised issue of fake news and post-truth

  • Platforms/digital practices of care, networking, participation

  • Memes as aesthetiques and language