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Jacob Johanssen (University of Westminster) – Psychoanalysis and Digital Media

This talk begins with a brief introduction to the field of psychoanalytic media studies. Jacob Johanssen will argue why we should not lose sight of the unconscious, irrational and affective aspects of (using) digital media today. The talk is based on his monograph Psychoanalysis and Digital Culture: Audiences, Social Media, and Big Data (Routledge, 2018) and he will provide an overview of some of the book’s themes. The book develops the psychoanalytic affect theories of Sigmund Freud and Didier Anzieu and applies them theoretically and methodologically to a number of case studies such as television viewing, Twitter use, affective labour on social media, and data mining.

Jacob Johanssen will end the talk by focussing on data mining on social media. Drawing on the psychoanalytic notion of perversion, he shall outline how users are both valued and abused at once by many digital media platforms today. Data mining practices are individualising by promising a bespoke user experience which values the individual subject. They are also disindividualising by mining user data in order to construct user profiles and large datasets.

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