Caressing in the age of social immunity: haptics, technology and the sacred

Nunes de Almeida, J. (2021) Caressing in the age of social immunity: haptics, technology and the sacred. Journal for Cultural Research, 25(3), pp. 252-269. (doi: 10.1080/14797585.2021.1942944)

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The emergence of new norms of sociability has historically compromised with segregation of entire communities that enforced certain ways of experiencing reality. Historically speaking, social segregation in capitalist western societies abounds with restrictive norms of touching beings and things in times of viral crisis. This article puts into perspective such paradigms of exclusion by critically addressing the role of haptic technology in promoting social segregation. Firstly, the article historically contextualises the haptic paradigm of social exclusion in two critical moments that define our contemporary regime of tactility: the immunity crisis in sixteenth-century Venice that led to the formation of the Jewish Ghetto and the capitalist secularisation of Protestantism. Drawing on this historical context, the second section starts with Baudrillard´s example of the ‘boy in the bubble’ to reflect on the anaphylactic paradox of authoritarian utopias based on total immunity. Following this discussion, the article critically analyses the haptic device PULSE in the light of the anaphylactic paradox of killing with excess of immunity and advances the relevance of the Levinasian caress to ethically question the role of haptic technology in preventing intersubjective responsibility amongst beings.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Almeida, Dr Joao
Authors: Nunes de Almeida, J.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Urban Studies
Journal Name:Journal for Cultural Research
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN (Online):1740-1666
Published Online:25 June 2021

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