Bodies

Authored by: Julie Cupples

The Ashgate Research Companion to Media Geography

Print publication date:  August  2014
Online publication date:  March  2016

Print ISBN: 9781409444015
eBook ISBN: 9781315613178
Adobe ISBN: 9781317042822

10.4324/9781315613178.ch10

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Abstract

Bodies are ubiquitous in media. Slim and fit bodies, obese and carnivalesque bodies, young and old bodies, murdered and mutilated bodies, alien and machinic bodies appear constantly on our television and computer screens, producing diverse modes of entertainment, engagement, and contestation. Media are also ubiquitous in bodies. Media technologies such as personal computers, cell phones, and gaming consoles transform and extend our bodies in all kinds of ways, often leading to cyborgian materialities and subjectivities. Even though people often think of media technologies as producing “virtual” as opposed to “physical” environments, the body is never absent in media. Bodies can be transcended or reconfigured in online environments, in the sense that children can become adults and vice versa, men can become women and vice versa, bodies can be differently abled, but the body is never absent. Being online often means being seated in front of a computer screen or at the very least having a smartphone in one’s hand or pocket. People have sex in Second Life and have of course been having “phone sex” for decades (Stone 1995). As Mark Hansen (2006: xvi) puts it, the contemporary moment is one in which we are seeing “the exteriorization of the human into a convergent media platform and the massive infiltration of technics into the body.” So while our bodies are never absent, the use of media technologies does transform the ways in which we are embodied.

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