Bodies that matter, bodies that don’t: selective disembodiment in the early Wired magazine (1993–1997)

Ferrari, E. (2020) Bodies that matter, bodies that don’t: selective disembodiment in the early Wired magazine (1993–1997). Internet Histories, 4(3), pp. 333-348. (doi: 10.1080/24701475.2020.1769891)

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This article investigates the relationship between disembodiment and cyberspace in early internet culture by analysing how bodies are represented in Wired magazine. Using a multi-stage qualitative analysis of the cover images, the cover titles and the cover articles of the magazine between 1993 and 1997, it reconstructs Wired’s discourse on bodies and cyberspace. The article suggests that Wired employs a discourse that I term selective disembodiment, a white male fantasy in which white women and people of colour matter only when they are disembodied in cyberspace, and only as disembodied entities: the voice and recognition they acquire by inhabiting cyberspace does not carry over in their embodied lives. This operates a political differentiation: between bodies that matter and bodies that don’t. It is a vision of politics and society that, while superficially inclusive, downplays and curtails the agency of non-white, non-male bodies and still has implications for the internet today.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Ferrari, Dr Elisabetta
Authors: Ferrari, E.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Sociology Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences
Journal Name:Internet Histories
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN (Online):2470-1483
Published Online:02 June 2020
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 Taylor & Francis
First Published:First published in Internet Histories 4(3):333-348
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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