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Thesis defences

PhD Oral Exam - Antonia Hernandez-Salamovich, Communication

Sexcams in a Dollhouse: Social Reproduction and the Platform Economy

Date & time

Tuesday, August 25, 2020 (all day)

Cost

This event is free

Organization

School of Graduate Studies

Contact

Daniela Ferrer

Where

Online

When studying for a doctoral degree (PhD), candidates submit a thesis that provides a critical review of the current state of knowledge of the thesis subject as well as the student’s own contributions to the subject. The distinguishing criterion of doctoral graduate research is a significant and original contribution to knowledge.

Once accepted, the candidate presents the thesis orally. This oral exam is open to the public.

Abstract

Once peripheral phenomena on the Web, sexcam platforms have been gaining social and economic importance in the last years, attracting millions of visitors every day. Crucial for this popularity is the technical and economic model that some of those sites use. Sexcam platforms combine the practices of labor and user-generated platforms. As platforms, they mediate between users and providers, becoming the field where those operations occur. Sexcam platforms, however, are more than intermediaries, and their structures incorporate and reproduce discriminatory conventions.

Sexcams in a Dollhouse: Social Reproduction and the Platform Economy is a research-creation project exploring digital labor through the American sexcam platform Chaturbate.com. Rather than treat it as an exception, this project invites the consideration of Chaturbate as paradigmatic for the understanding of work in the context of platform capitalism. Sexcam platforms, this research argues, illustrate recent changes in the notions of what is work and what is leisure, what generates value and how, and how human are social relations.

Using a made-up dollhouse as an interface and stage, this project set up a series of performative interventions on the sexcam platform. Through humorous yet critical play, these pieces asked about the situation of social reproduction on the platform economy, the role of maintenance practices in the generation of value, and the incorporation of new technological infrastructures into daily life.

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