Seen and Safe: Digital Stories of Grief, Care and the Making of Subjectivities Online
The digital (with its multiple platforms and features) form a consequential space and time for the constitution of queer subjectivity and relatedness in a national context that excludes queers from its socio-political fabric and national imaginaries. This thesis argues that the digital constitutes a potential space and a promise for queer relationality, as it is an important element of queer subjectivities and belonging. The project traces the digital as it holds potentiality as an ever-evolving and precarious cyber-geography, yet, its multiple platforms and features remain generative for queer subjectivities and relatedness. It looks at the digital as a potentiality waiting to happen, and as it reconstitutes temporality and relatedness beyond heteronormative notions of time and value, in everyday life and activism. It mainly explores and traces the specificities that take place through the negotiations of being seen and staying safe, and their contradictions.
Through that, the project combines different affective modalities of desires, self-expression and discovery vis-à-vis the digital and broader questions of safety, selective visibility, relationality with others and with digital platforms, and the diverse affects and tensions that emerge. By taking seriously the binding and doing of emotions, it explores queer care, affects and shared affectivity during a major communal moment of grief and loss during COVID-19. It sociologically explores the questions: how do queer/trans/non-binary subjectivities navigate and feel about the digital, through self-exploration, memory, and through encounters with different platforms? What possibilities and affects emerge out of digital spaces and affordances, in shaping queer subjectivities and relatedness, despite of the state and neoliberalism haunting the digital? How do they strategically utilize various platforms and their features to locate trust and safety? It engages with these questions to explore and gain a sociological understanding of queer subjectivities in a certain locality and (hetero)normative national and cyberspace.