DRIFT studies young people’s use of social media such as Snapchat, TikTok, Reddit and Onlyfans. Social media use has pushed gendered norms and body ideals dramatically, and caused public and academic concern due to suspected risks. It is our hypothesis that such socio-technical changes may destabilize young people’s sense of gendered and embodied boundaries; however, we also hypothesize that risk and attractive possibilities entangle in complex, undetermined and often confusing ways, which force young people into intricate social negotiations. To capture these movements in their making, DRIFT studies how young people’s use of digital invitations transgress existing, and produce new, boundaries for what is considered appropriate and inappropriate expressions of gender and body, and how this effects identities and belonging. Digital social networking links individuals into a powerful techno-social-cultural assemblage of relations. The conceptual framework, which helps us studying these relations, combines post-phenomenology, poststructuralism and new materialist theory. The empirical basis of DRIFT’s analyses entails digital ethnography, analogue fieldwork and interviews with young people.
Funding: AUFF NOVA
Timeline: 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2025