research strands

Postdigital Intimacies

The Postdigital Intimacies theme in the Centre for Postdigital Cultures aims to produce world-leading research through collaboration and co-creation, equity and social justice, and offer diverse and shared understandings of intimacy as a relational concept. It looks to create new accounts of our worlds, how we feel, and how such feeling is shaped by the embeddedness of digital culture.

a woman standing in front of red and green fluorescent lights

Our vision is one where intimacy connects and reaches out across a range of events, people, objects, feelings, data and technologies, recognising this as both our contribution to practice and theory, while the traces of often marginalised ways of thinking exist in and through our work.

We take the ‘postdigital’ to delineate a context where the digital is invisible and naturalised in how we think, act, feel; attending to the postdigital could fundamentally shape new accounts of how we understand ourselves, others, and the worlds around us. In both theory and practice we draw on feminist intersectionality, social justice and our positioning of intimacy as something more-than-digital, entangled with the digital but also reaching far beyond to include a web of human and non-human agents, to inform a research theme.

At the thematic core of our feeling around postdigital intimacies are relationalities: with ourselves, with others, and with our environment, as deeply affecting and affective, and both lasting and ephemeral. We also acknowledge the ways in which intimacy is also often oriented towards risk, and seek to attend to these failures of intimacy that manifest in ruptures, tension, conditionality, betrayal, non-consent, and even violence, even when there might be radical potential in such failed intimacies. Postdigital intimacies expose both the possibilities and vulnerabilities of living relationally and in worlds where we are – digital or not, and for better or worse – irrevocably bound to one another.  

In current research, we will be working through our thematic core of ourselves, others and our environments: how they overlap and intersect, how they inform and animate the loci of intimacy as tenuous and complex, and how they challenge dichotomies of inside(r) and outside(r), public and private, human and non-human (or more-than-human), digital and more-than-digital, and embodied and disembodied. 


team

Lindsay Balfour

Lindsay Anne Balfour is Assistant Professor of Digital Media in the Centre for Postdigital Cultures and works within the Postdigital Intimacies research cluster. She is an experienced, researcher, public speaker, and author with international experience in the non-profit sector and formal academia. She has held grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and earned her PhD from the University of British Columbia. Her research draws on the philosophical concept of hospitality to consider the relationship between humans and machines (HCI), and employs an intersectional feminist and cultural studies perspective to look at digital intimacies. Currently, she is conducting feminist analyses of surveillance capitalism and embodied computing including the concept of “tracking” through wearables, implantables, and ingestibles (FemTech). She is PI on a project in development for the Economic and Social Research Council that researches access and inclusion in FemTech, and the efficacy of digital interventions for gender-based violence. This work offers wider benefits concerning the global health of women, such as those outlined in the UN Sustainable Development Goals regarding Women and Girls, and in particular targets focusing on sexual and reproductive health.

Dr Balfour works with both academics and industry experts (including policymakers and regulators). Her most recent project was a pump-prime grant funded by Research England – “Preliminary Policy Stakeholder Engagement for Emergent FemTech and Women’s Digital Health.” She is also Co-I on the project “Postdigital Intimacies for Online Safety: Building policy recommendations through co-production partner workshops.”

Adrienne Evans
photo of Adrienne Evans
Photo by Esme Spurling 

Dr. Adrienne Evans is Reader for Media in the Centre for Postdigital Cultures at Coventry University, UK, where she leads the Postdigital Intimacies cluster. Her research focuses on accounts of intimacy in the context of a postfeminist sensibility, and is interested in exploring how digital feeling shapes expectations of the ‘good life’. In her research, she is interested in creating new ways of thinking about notions of the good life, wellbeing and positivity through digital technology in relation to the vulnerabilities these concepts engender, by seeking to stimulate more inclusive, equitable and feminist-inspired ways of being in the world. She is co-author of Technologies of Sexiness (2014), Postfeminism and Health (2018) and Postfeminism and Body Image (2022), and Digital Feeling (2023). She is PI of the AHRC network Postdigital Intimacies and the Networked Public-Private, CI on the Marsden Fund (New Zealand) project Exploring the possibilities of menstruation and perimenopause tracking apps for people with diverse embodied experiences.

Godswill Ezeonyeka
headshot of Godswill Ezeonyeka

Godswill Ezeonyeka is a PhD researcher in the Centre for Postdigital Cultures at Coventry University. His research uses the practice of documentary filmmaking to investigate the revolution of social media activism in Nigeria. He has an MA in Communications, Culture and Media from Coventry University.

Marcus Maloney

Marcus Maloney is Assistant Professor of Sociology in the Centre for Postdigital Cultures, Coventry University. His research focuses on men and masculinities online; ideological contestations in digital spaces; video game narratives, cultures, and communities; and postdigital intimacies and socialities. Marcus has published widely in these areas, including articles in Cultural SociologyNew Media & Society, and Games and Culture. His most recent book is Gender, Masculinity and Video Gaming: Analysing Reddit’s r/gaming Community (Palgrave 2019).

Angela McRobbie
Angela McRobbie
Sarah Kate Merry

Dr. Sarah Kate Merry (she/her) is a Research Fellow in the Centre for Postdigital Cultures, and is part of the Postdigital Intimacies research cluster.  Sarah is a social scientist with a background in information studies, whose research focuses on the impact of the internet on social interactions, particularly among marginalised communities. Her current work includes investigating the benefits of ‘lurking’ (non-participatory presence) in online peer support groups for people with adult diagnoses of ADHD, and the impact of social media on the experiences of newly-diagnosed neurodistinct people.

Sarah’s broader research interests including friendship creation and maintenance online, behaviour in fan communities, and online safety for vulnerable adults. In the recent project Postdigital Intimacies for Online Safety: Building policy recommendations through co-production partner workshops, undertaken with colleagues in Postdigital Intimacies, she focused on the gaps in current legislation regarding online harms for vulnerable adults, such as those with mental health disorders and/or who are neurodistinct.

Hannah Westwood

Hannah L. Westwood is a PhD researcher in the Centre for Postdigital Cultures at Coventry University, on a fully funded trailblazers studentship. She is investigating the FemTech industry,and how it can become more equitable, accessible and inclusive, with a particular focus on digital fertility trackers and digital contraception. Hannah has a forthcoming chapter ‘Reinventing the Beauty Myth? FemTech’s Cost to the Consumer’ in the edited collection Who is FemTech For? She graduated with an MA in Women’s Studies from the University of York in 2022. 


projects


publications

(descending by date)

Balfour, Lindsay. 2024. “Postdigital Intimacies and Excarnation in FemTech.” TOPIA: Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies 48 (Platform Intimacies Special Issue).
Balfour, Lindsay. 2023. The Digital Future of Hospitality. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
Evans, Adrienne, and Sarah Riley. 2023. Digital Feeling. Palgrave Macmillan.
Westwood, Hannah L. 2023. “Reinventing the Beauty Myth? FemTech’s Cost to the Consumer.” In FemTech: Intersectional Interventions in Women’s Digital Health, edited by Lindsay Anne Balfour, 47–71. Singapore: Springer Nature. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-99-5605-0_3.
Balfour, Lindsay Anne, ed. 2023. FemTech: Intersectional Interventions in Women’s Digital Health. Singapore: Springer Nature. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-99-5605-0.
Balfour, Lindsay, ed. 2023. Who Is FemTech For?: Intersectional Interventions in Women’s Digital Health. Sydney: Palgrave Macmillan.
Balfour, Lindsay. 2022. FemTech World Podcast- Episode 2 Femtech Apps and Data Protection. https://open.spotify.com/episode/7bNsIA6t614jJXcE6naSAF.
Campbell, Paul Ian, and Marcus Maloney. 2022. “‘White Digital Footballers Can’t Jump’: (Re)Constructions of Race in FIFA 20.” Soccer & Society 23 (8): 894–908. https://doi.org/10.1080/14660970.2022.2109805.
Balfour, Lindsay. 2022. FemTech and Data Privacy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3uNUKKDhJ9o.
Riley, Sarah, Adrienne Evans, and Martine Robson. 2022. Postfeminism and Body Image. 1st edition. Routledge.
Maloney, Marcus, Steve Roberts, and Callum Jones. 2022. “‘How Do I Become Blue Pilled?’: Masculine Ontological Insecurity on 4chan’s Advice Board.” New Media & Society, June, 14614448221103124. https://doi.org/10.1177/14614448221103124.
Balfour, Lindsay. 2022. “#TimesUp for Siri and Alexa: Sexual Violence and the Gendered Hospitality of the Digital Domestic.” In The Forgotten Victims of Sexual Violence in Film, Television and New Media, edited by Stephanie Patrick and Mythili Rajiva. Palgrave Macmillan.
Diaz-Fernandez, Silvia, and Adrienne Evans. 2022. “(Mis)Recognition within Heterogendered Lad Culture: LGBTQIA+ Students’ Subjectivities in Higher Education.” Gender and Education 34 (3): 346–61. https://doi.org/10.1080/09540253.2021.1929855.
Balfour, Lindsay. 2022. #mhTV Episode 82 - Women’s Health Technology: Why It Could Be so Much More than Period Trackers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-I8vq5bqHa8.
Balfour, Lindsay. 2022. “Women’s Health Technology Could Be so Much More than Period Trackers.” The Conversation, February.
Evans, Adrienne, and Sarah Riley. 2022. “The Righteous Outrage of Post-Truth Anti-Feminism: An Analysis of TubeCrush and Feminist Research in and of Public Space.” European Journal of Cultural Studies 25 (1): 25–42. https://doi.org/10.1177/1367549420951574.
Balfour, Lindsay. 2022. “Protecting User Data in the Fight for Reproductive Justice: A Critical Feminist Perspective.” Presented at the Reproductive Health Crisis – Breakthroughs & Backtracks. Being Human Festival.
Balfour, Lindsay. 2021. “An Intersectional Analysis of Our Robotic Future: Surrogate Humanity: Race, Robots, and the Politics of Technological Futures, by Neda Atanasoski and Kalindi Vora, Durham and London, Duke University Press, 2019, 196pp (240 Incl. Notes and Bibliography). ISBN: 9781478003175 (Cloth 99.95) / 9781478003861 (Paperback – 25.95) / 9781478004455 (Ebook).” Cultural Studies, December. https://doi.org/10.1080/09502386.2021.2020315.
Maloney, Marcus, and Scott Doidge. 2021. “Homegrown Heroes and New War Warriors: Post-9/11 Depictions of Warfare in Call of Duty.” In Militarization and the Global Rise of Paramilitary Culture, edited by Brad West and Thomas Crosbie, 57–74. Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-16-5588-3.
Roberts, Steven, Signe Ravn, Marcus Maloney, and Brittany Ralph. 2021. “Navigating the Tensions of Normative Masculinity: Homosocial Dynamics in Australian Young Men’s Discussions of Sexting Practices.” Cultural Sociology 15 (1): 22–43. https://doi.org/10.1177/1749975520925358.
Riley, Sarah, Martine Robson, and Adrienne Evans. 2021. “Foucauldian-Informed Discourse Analysis.” In The Cambridge Handbook of Identity, edited by Carolin Demuth, Meike Watzlawik, and Michael Bamberg, 285–303. Cambridge Handbooks in Psychology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108755146.016.
Balfour, Lindsay. 2020. “Ground Zero Revisited – Museums and Materiality in an Age of Global Pandemic.” Museum and Society 18 (3): 302–4. https://doi.org/10.29311/mas.v18i3.3532.
Diaz-Fernandez, Silvia, and Adrienne Evans. 2020. “Lad Culture as a Sticky Atmosphere: Navigating Sexism and Misogyny in the UK’s Student-Centred Nighttime Economy.” Gender, Place & Culture 27 (5): 744–64. https://doi.org/10.1080/0966369X.2019.1612853.
Evans, Adrienne, Sarah Riley, and Martine Robson. 2020. “Postfeminist Healthism: Pregnant with Anxiety in the Time of Contradiction.” Jura Gentium XVII (1): 95–118.
Wilde, Poppy, and Adrienne Evans. 2019. “Empathy at Play: Embodying Posthuman Subjectivities in Gaming.” Convergence 25 (5–6): 791–806. https://doi.org/10.1177/1354856517709987.
Diaz-Fernandez, Silvia, and Adrienne Evans. 2019. “‘Fuck Off to the Tampon Bible’: Misrecognition and Researcher Intimacy in an Online Mapping of ‘Lad Culture.’” Qualitative Inquiry 25 (3): 237–47. https://doi.org/10.1177/1077800418800757.
Riley, Sarah, Adrienne Evans, Emma Anderson, and Martine Robson. 2019. “The Gendered Nature of Self-Help.” Feminism & Psychology 29 (1): 3–18. https://doi.org/10.1177/0959353519826162.
Maloney, Marcus, Steven Roberts, and Timothy Graham. 2019. Gender, Masculinity and Video Gaming: Analysing Reddit’s r/Gaming Community. Cham: Springer International Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-28262-2.
Evans, Adrienne, and Sarah Riley. 2018. “‘He’s a Total TubeCrush’: Post-Feminist Sensibility as Intimate Publics.” Feminist Media Studies 18 (6): 996–1011. https://doi.org/10.1080/14680777.2017.1367701.
Evans, Adrienne. 2018. “Sex Media and Keeping It Complex.” Cultural Studies 32 (6): 999–1002. https://doi.org/10.1080/09502386.2018.1457702.
Riley, Sarah, Adrienne Evans, and Martine Robson. 2018. Postfeminism and Health: Critical Psychology and Media Perspectives. 1st edition. London ; New York: Routledge.
Balfour, Lindsay. 2018. “Traumatic Ruins and the Archeology of Sound: William Basinski’s The Disintegration Loops.” Journal of Sonic Studies 16 (May).
Riley, Sarah, and Adrienne Evans. 2018. “Lean Light Fit and Tight: Fitblr Blogs and the Postfeminist Transformation Imperative.” In New Sporting Femininities: Embodied Politics in Postfeminist Times, edited by Kim Toffoletti, Holly Thorpe, and Jessica Francombe-Webb, 207–29. New Femininities in Digital, Physical and Sporting Cultures. Cham: Springer International Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-72481-2_10.
Evans, Adrienne, and Sarah Riley. 2018. “‘This Dapper Hotty Is Working That Tweed Look’: Extending Workplace Affects on TubeCrush.” In Digital Intimate Publics and Social Media, edited by Amy Shields Dobson, Brady Robards, and Nicholas Carah, 129–44. Palgrave Studies in Communication for Social Change. Cham: Springer International Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-97607-5_8.
Balfour, Lindsay Anne. 2017. Hospitality in a Time of Terror: Strangers at the Gate. Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press.
Evans, Adrienne. 2017. “Sex and Celebrity Media.” In The Routledge Companion to Media, Sex and Sexuality. Routledge.
Riley, Sarah, Adrienne Evans, Sinikka Elliott, Carla Rice, and Jeanne Marecek. 2017. “A Critical Review of Postfeminist Sensibility.” Social and Personality Psychology Compass 11 (12): e12367. https://doi.org/10.1111/spc3.12367.
Evans, Adrienne, and Sarah Riley. 2017. “The Entrepreneurial Practices of Becoming a Doll.” In Aesthetic Labour: Rethinking Beauty Politics in Neoliberalism, edited by Ana Sofia Elias, Rosalind Gill, and Christina Scharff, 133–48. Dynamics of Virtual Work. London: Palgrave Macmillan UK. https://doi.org/10.1057/978-1-137-47765-1_7.
Riley, Sarah, Adrienne Evans, and Alison Mackiewicz. 2016. “It’s Just between Girls: Negotiating the Postfeminist Gaze in Women’s ‘Looking Talk.’” Feminism & Psychology 26 (1): 94–113. https://doi.org/10.1177/0959353515626182.
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