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Open Cultural Studies: Media and Emotions. The New Frontiers of Affect in Digital Culture

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Professor Toby Miller (UC Riverside, USA)
Dr. Anna Malinowska (University of Silesia, Poland)


The intervention of digitalism and the new media into “a whole way of life” (Williams 1960) has had a significant effect on human emotions and the ways we express and experience feelings in daily interaction. Changes in communication patterns have gestated new manners of conduct, visible in phenomena such as virtual love, cyber touching or digital kissing [the latter carried out by means of emojis or, more recently, with the use of KISSENGER – a real-time internet kiss interface for mobiles to be introduced to mass markets in two years or so (Zhang, Nishiguchi, Cheok, Morisawa 2016)].

There has been a suspension between new and old modalities of life, marked by constant oscillation between the virtual and the real, the tangible and the intangible, the haptic and the sensory. These new modalities point to a change in the cultural condition which, associated with liquefaction (Bauman 2003, 2005), connects to the rise of new forms of solidity that uncover new capacities and affordance for our emotional selves.

The focus of this special issue is the new media and emotion, analyzed in relation to changing life environments and human emotional interactions. We invite papers that will re-examine the relationship between new media forms, media-ridden realities, and emotional structures (interactions, reactions, affordances etc.) with respect to cultural processes examined from a myriad of scholarly perspectives and methodological approaches.

Suggested topics include (but are not limited to):

  • Feelings and the (post)-Anthropocene: emotional interactions between human beings,
  • the natural environment, and non-human technologies
  • Changes of emotional practice / perception: new sensory dimensions and bodily
  • reactions (non-contact interactions etc.)
  • Emotions as objects expressed in new technologies
  • Affective experiences with the new media
  • Technologies of emotions / emotions in technologies
  • Emotional labor and the service industries, from goldmining on-line games to virtual sex
  • work
  • The commodification and governance of feelings
  • The relationship between affect theory, phenomenology, and the psy-function
  • (psychoanalysis, psychology, and psychopharmacology)
  • How media-effects models construct the relationship between new media and emotion
  • The use of feelings discourse in journalism, political communication, and social conflicts 


Sensitive Media
Malinowska, Anna / Miller, Toby DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/culture-2017-0060

This Pussy Grabs back: Humour, Digital Affects and Women’s Protest
Bore, Inger-Lise Kalviknes / Graefer, Anne / Kilby, Allaina DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/culture-2017-0050

“just hanging out with you in my back yard”: Mark Zuckerberg and Mediated Paternalism
Little, Ben / Winch, Alison DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/culture-2017-0039

How Bell Canada Capitalises on the Millennial: Affective Labour, Intersectional Identity, and Mental Health
Peters, Meg DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/culture-2017-0037

Stranger-ness and Belonging in a Neighbourhood WhatsApp Group
Dixon, Natalie DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/culture-2017-0046

Reclaiming Melancholy by Emotion Tracking? Datafication of Emotions in Health Care and at the Workplace
Janasik-Honkela, Nina DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/culture-2017-0052

Motion Capturing Emotions
Wood, Karen / Cisneros, Rosemary E. / Whatley, Sarah  DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/culture-2017-0047

Affect and Dialogue in Collaborative Cross- Disciplinary Research: Developing Interactive Public Art on Cardiff Bay Barrage
Entwistle, Alice / Burrows, Inga / Carroll, Fiona / Thomas, Nathan / Ware, Mark / Loudon, Gareth DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/culture-2017-0055

Affective Iconoclasm: Codes of Labour as a Human Characteristic
Gronlund, Melissa DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/culture-2017-0051

Whimsical Bodies and Performative Machines: Aesthetics and Affects of Robotic Art
Pullen, Treva Michelle DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/culture-2017-0048