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Material Virtualities

Approaching Online Textual Embodiment


Jenny Sundén

What does it mean to be embodied online? What are the conditions of cybersubjectivity? In Material Virtualities, Jenny Sundén explores the rarely acknowledged borderland between typists and textual bodies, speaking and writing, and physicality and imagination in online encounters. Through careful ethnographic investigations of a text-based virtual world called WaterMOO, Sundén shows how texts, bodies, and machines are linked together in ways that demand a new understanding of the writing subject. Drawing on contemporary feminist and queer theory, she questions the opposition between disembodied, high-tech masculinity and embodied, earth-bound femininity, insisting on the need for a radical materialization of cybercultural studies that discloses the «virtual» as itself embodied.