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Department of Sociology


Tuesday 2 June, 13.00 – 14.00 (Online, Microsoft Teams)

Dr Rikke Amundsen, Department of Sociology

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This presentation considers the role of risk in women’s heterosexual sexting practices. In doing so, I draw on interview material collected for a research project on women’s digitally mediated experiences of creating, sending and receiving private sexual images - an activity also known as 'sexting'. I examine how these women cast their own sexting practices as a form of ‘mediated intimacy work’ constituted by a constant negotiation of the risk that their sexting material might be distributed further online without their consent – an activity that I refer to as ‘digital image abuse’. I explore how this risk of digital image abuse informed not only the women’s acts of sexting as intimacy work, but also their perceptions of intimacy and of what it means to be intimate with someone. I argue that, for these women, the risk inherent in creating and sharing sexting material was not simply perceived as an obstacle to intimacy, but also as a resource so as to further enhance it.

Dr Rikke Amundsen is a Teaching Associate at the Department of Sociology, University Cambridge. Her research explores the increasing incorporation of new media and digital technology into people's intimate lives and practices. More specifically, it examines the concept of 'mediated intimacy' in relation to the digitally mediated practice of creating, sending and receiving private sexual images – an activity that is also known as ‘sexting’. Her current research examines (1) how notions of intimacy are expressed in and through adults’ sexting practices, and (2) how sexting creates novel opportunities for the establishment of emotional closeness, as well as a heightened level of social and technological risk, like the risk of being hacked by unknown others or the risk of the non-consensual distribution of one’s private sexual images.

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Tuesday, 2 June, 2020 - 13:00 to 14:00