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Foucault, Exhibitionism and Voyeurism on ChatRoulette


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Presentation for CATaC 2010, Vancouver

Published in: Education, News & Politics
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Foucault, Exhibitionism and Voyeurism on ChatRoulette

  1. 1. Foucault, Exhibitionism and Voyeurism on ChatRoulette Dr David Kreps, ISOS, Salford, UK
  2. 2. Agenda
  3. 3. Agenda Introduction Sex, the Internet, and Foucault ChatRoulette Conclusions
  4. 4. Introduction
  5. 5. Introduction ‘The Swinger’ - Polaroid Camera 70s phenomenon “instant photography and instant pornography” Production of pornography -> from broadcast mode to distributed mode
  6. 6. Sex on the internet
  7. 7. Sex on the internet Saucy Polaroid now almost indistinguishable from professional pornography Naked photos and videos on Internet dating sites
  8. 8. The Scientia Sexualis
  9. 9. The Scientia Sexualis History of Sexuality what appears as a "repression" of sexual drives is a huge increase in the discussion of sex Discourse on sexuality - confession > consultation from the Christian confessional box to the sexologist’s, in the 19th century, and then in the 20th century the psychoanalyst’s couch Consultation + Web2.0 = Chat: sexual Michel Foucault discourse now the domain of all
  10. 10. Exhibitionism
  11. 11. Exhibitionism Exhibitionism - a ‘Paraphilia’ “recurrent, intense sexual urges and sexually arousing fantasies…involving the exposure of one’s genitals to a stranger” ! 30% of the anti-social sexual behaviour appearing in the legal system in the US “a threatening act ... indicating a dangerous incapacity to control impulses.”
  12. 12. Voyeurism
  13. 13. Voyeurism Voyeurism by and large normal behaviour fetish for observing unsuspecting people naked: “often has the fantasy of taking part in a sexual experience with the observed person, but rarely seeks this outcome”
  14. 14. Consent
  15. 15. Consent Dividing line between normal and abnormal sexual behaviour, is the issue of consent. Exhibiting one’s genitalia to those who are consenting in such exposure, and enjoying looking at such an exhibition contrasted with such exhibition and looking where the viewer or viewed, respectively, are not consenting in the exposure.
  16. 16. Sexual social networking
  17. 17. Sexual social networking Consent is taken for granted Those posting images of themselves are doing so with the intention of others viewing them Those logging on to sexual social networking sites expect to see revealing photos/videos
  18. 18. Scientia Sexualis Videre
  19. 19. Scientia Sexualis Videre More than just self-advertising Competitive sexual exhibitionism more to do with communication about sex – albeit that that communication is visual rather than oral or textual – than it is about sex itself
  20. 20. Video-discourse
  21. 21. Video-discourse As Nakamura (2008) has described, digital images are as open to interpretation as Foucauldian visual “discourse-objects” (Foucault 1995:140) as are vocal and written statements. the exchange of imagery online becomes a confessional sexual activity in its own right, quite apart from the physical meetings that may or may not be arranged through the website
  22. 22. ChatRoulette
  23. 23. ChatRoulette Created in November 2009 by a Russian 17 year old, Andrey Ternovskiy “I myself enjoyed talking to friends with Skype using a microphone and webcam. But we got tired of talking to each other eventually. So I decided to create a little site for me and my friends where we could connect randomly with other people.” NYT
  24. 24. ChatRoulette stats
  25. 25. ChatRoulette stats 4m visitors per month Feb ’10 / March 2010 : 89% Male, 47% American, 13% Perverts
  26. 26. ChatRoulette ephemerality
  27. 27. ChatRoulette ephemerality Most connections click ‘Next’ #search on twitter – a brief snapshot of a thought from an anonymous tweeter. But one can find out more With ChatRoulette, despite richness of sound & video without direct willingness to exchange contact details, the moment will remain forever anonymous
  28. 28. ChatRoulette & Consent
  29. 29. ChatRoulette & Consent Exhibitionists can display themselves to those who have not consented. The technology ! almost encourages it. Issues of power are foregrounded: the power to display without consent the resistance in the ability to click ‘Next’ and escape A dominant masculine hegemony in sexual expression, inherent in exhibitionism, is given free rein
  30. 30. ChatRoulette discourse
  31. 31. ChatRoulette discourse Discourse of depersonalized sexuality Zero actual, visceral sexual contact, albeit the sexual content is plain Video based Foucauldian discourse of sexuality, a Scientia Sexualis Videre par excellence Visual communication about sex, with live streaming video discourse-objects
  32. 32. Video-discourse-objects
  33. 33. Video-discourse-objects Live video of masturbating man in 3” window is a sexual speech act and a statement Unwitting viewer is disempowered Exhibitionist is empowered, making their statement performatively before the safety of the webcam. Thus the nexus of power relations between exhibitionist and viewer gradually becomes the primary field within which ChatRoulette operates.
  34. 34. Filtering
  35. 35. Filtering Filters in ChatRoulette enabling choice controls on random connections? Text-based alternatives - e.g. Conceiving sexuality as discourse enables us to extend penal controls deriving from what we consider right and wrong in society into the code of our online sexual social networks The architecture of our virtual social spaces can incorporate the powers of social construction and control
  36. 36. Conclusion
  37. 37. Conclusion Sexuality, understood as a Foucauldian discourse, continues to be a major factor in the growth of the internet Sexual social networks are emblematic of shift of video from broadcast to social media mode ChatRoulette is illustrative of Foucault’s concepts of sexuality as discourse - the ultimate ‘non-contact’ reduction of the visceral act of sex to a conversational, visual discourse-object Consent needs to be coded in, or ChatRoulette users will eventually only consist in exhibitionists and voyeurs
  38. 38. References Anderson, S. (5/2/2010) The Human Shuffle: Is ChatRoulette the future of the Internet or its distant past? New York Times Atkinson, E. and DePalma, R. (2008) Dangerous Spaces: constructing and contesting sexual identities in an online discussion forum, Gender and Education 20, 2, 183-194. Baudrillard, J. (1975). The mirror of production. St. Louis [Mo.], Telos Press. Cox, D., (1988) Incidence and Nature of Male Genital Exposure Behaviour As Reported by College Women. Journal of Sex Research 24. 227-234 Daneback, K, Ross, M, and Mansson, S, (2006) Characteristics and Behaviours of Sexual Compulsives Who Use the Internet for Sexual Purposes, Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity, 13, 1, 53-67. Del-Teso-Craviotto, M, (2008) Gender and sexual identity authentication in language use: the case of chat rooms, Discourse Studies, 10, 2, 251-270. DiMarco, H (2003) Electronic Cloak: Secret Sexual Deviance in Cybersociety, in Yvonee Jewkes, (Ed) Dot.cons: Crime, Deviance and Identity on the Internet, Willan Publishing, London 53-67 Edgley, C., and Kiser, K (1981) Polaroid Sex: Deviant possibilities in a technological age. Journal of American Culture 59-64 Foucault, M. (1977) Discipline and Punish. London, Penguin.
  39. 39. References Foucault, M. (1998) History of Sexuality Vol 1: The Will To Knowledge, Penguin, London Foucault, M. (1992) History of Sexuality Vol 2: The Use of Pleasure, Penguin, London Foucault, M. (1990) History of Sexuality Vol 3: The Care of the Self, Penguin, London Foucault, M. (1995). Madness and civilization : a history of insanity in the age of reason. London, Routledge. Foucault, M. (1995). The Archaeology of Knowledge. London, Routledge. Ingram, M. (14/2/2010) ChatRoulette Gets Fred Wilson’s Attention. GigaOm chatroulette-gets-fred-wilsons-attention/ Kreps, D. (2010) My Social Networking Profile: Copy, Resemblance or Simulacrum? A poststructuralist interpretation of global information systems European Journal of Information Systems (19)1 Kreps, D. (2009) Performing the Discourse of Sexuality Online: Foucault, Butler, and Video-sharing on Sexual Social Networking Sites. AMCIS 2009 Proceedings. Paper 517. Light, B, Fletcher, G, Adam, A, (2008) Gay men, Gaydar and the commodification of difference, Information Technology and People, 21, 3, 300-314 Light, B. (2007) Introducing Masculinity Studies to Information Systems Research: the case of Gaydar. European Journal of Information Systems 16, 658–665
  40. 40. References Nakamura, L (2008) Digitizing Race: Visual Cultures of the Internet University of Minneapolis Press, Minneapolis Piemont, L (2007) Fear of the Empty Self: The Motivations for Genital Exhibitionism. Modern Psychoanalysis, 32(1) 79-93 Spitzer, R., (ed.) (1985) Diagnostic and statistical manual – revised. Washington DC: American Psychiatric Association Stone, B. (13/2/2010) Chatroulette’s Creator, 17, Introduces Himself. New York Times 2010/02/13/chatroulettes-founder-17-introduces-himself/?src=twt&twt=nytimesbits Tossell, I., (14/2/2010) Naked guy. Click. Naked guy. The Globe and Mail technology/personal-tech/naked-guy-click-naked-guy-click-naked-guy/article1468375/ Twohig, F., and Furnham, A., (1998) Lay Beliefs About Overcoming Four Sexual Paraphilias: Fetishism, Paedophilia, Sexual Sadism and Voyeurism. Personal Individual Difference 24(2) 267-278. van Doorn, N, Wyatt, S, and Zoonen, L, (2008) A Body of Text, Feminist Media Studies¸8, 4, 357-374 Vannini, P (2004) Cosi Fan Tutti: Foucault, Goffman, and the Pornographic Synopticon. In Waskul, D, (ed.) net.seXXX: Readings on Sex, Pornography and the Internet, Peter Lang, New York Waskul, D. (2004) Sex and the Internet: Old Thrills in a New World; New Thrills in an Old World. In Waskul, D. (ed.) net.seXXX: Readings on Sex, Pornography and the Internet, Peter Lang, New York Yurchisin, (2005) An Exploration of Identity Re-Creation in the Context of Internet Dating, Social Behaviour and Personality, 33, 8, 735-750
  41. 41. Some URLs of images
  42. 42. Contact
  43. 43. Contact Dr David Kreps Director, Centre for Information Systems, Organisations and Society