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Module Specifications

Archived Version 2019 - 2020

Module Title Gender and Sexuality in Digital Culture
Module Code CM580
School School of Communications

Online Module Resources

Module Co-ordinatorDr Debbie GingOffice NumberC179
NFQ level 9 Credit Rating 10
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None

This module explores a broad range of issues relating to gender, sex and sexuality as they are mediated through various aspects of digital culture, from internet pornography and social networking sites to online dating and digital gender politics. Using theoretical frameworks taken from gender/sexuality studies as well as media studies, it explores the impact of recent social, economic and technological developments on sexual behaviour and intimacy, gender politics and sexual identity construction. It also critically considers policy responses to a number of issues of social concern, including pornography, the sexualisation of children, pro-anorexia and sexting.

Learning Outcomes

1. Identify the key changes that have occurred in the (mediated) construction of discourses around gender, sex and sexuality in recent decades, in Ireland and elsewhere
2. Develop an understanding of the technological affordances and algorithmic politics of digital media and their role in shaping communicative practices around sex, gender and sexuality.
3. Apply a range of media studies frameworks to a number of key case studies.
4. Analyse the dynamics and impact of hashtag campaigns, memes and other forms of political communication in the shaping of contemporary gender and sexual politics.
5. Design and produce your own digital/social media campaign to influence social attitudes about sex, gender, sexuality, sexual health, etc. and evaluate the strategy behind - and potential impact of - this campaign in relation to the relevant theoretical literature.

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture24No Description
Lecture20Screening Time
Independent Study126Reading
Group work80Group Project
Total Workload: 250

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

What is digital culture?
Networked society, digital citizenship, access and digital divides; The algorithmic turn and new theoretical challenges for analysing media and culture - Technological, social and economic determinism - Political economies of digital culture(s)

Key shifts in gender politics
From feminism to postfeminism, from modernity to postmodernity; From the political to the cultural – debates around identity politics and intersectionality - New and old feminisms, digital feminism

Cybernetics, Artificial Intelligence and posthumanism
Erasure of the body? Circuits of disembodiment and reimbodiment; What implications for sex (cybersex, teledildonics, online dating, sexbots)? - What implications for gender and sexual politics and identity (MRAs vs. digital feminism)?

Case study 1: Online dating
Mediated intimacy, relationshopping and the commodification of intimacy; Neuroscience, genetics and big data; Mobile dating and hook-up apps: conceptual and methodological frameworks

Case study 2: Digital gender politics
Gamergate, the Manosphere and MRAs versus SJWs: how did we get here?; Networked affect, affective publics, the politics of emotion, the culture wars - Memes, Campaigns and hashtag politics

Workshop 1
Creating and theorising your own digital / social media campaign

Reading week

Case study 2
Creating and theorising your own digital / social media campaign

Pornography: from social problem to cultural critique
Cultural, economic, historical and legal contexts; Pornography in the digital economy: produsers, DIY and the collapse of private-public and real-representational boundaries - Theoretical approaches, methodologies, research ethics

Moral panics and digital youth cultures, part 1
Pornification: debates on the sexualisation of culture; The sexualisation of children: policy responses and feminist critique in the Anglophone world. Media and parliamentary discourses in Ireland.

Moral panics and digital youth cultures, part 2
Pro-anorexia image sharing on social media; Sexting: policy responses, safety campaigns and sexual double standards

Review of the module
Essay preparartion

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Reassessment Requirement
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
Indicative Reading List

  • Susanna Paasonen, Kaarina Nikunen + Laura Saarenmaa: 2007, Pornification: Sex and Sexuality in Media Culture., Berg,
  • Clarissa Smith: 2007, One for the Girls! The Pleasures and Practices of Reading Women’s Porn, Intellect,
  • Natasha Walter: 2010, Living Dolls: the Return of Sexism, Virago,
  • Denis D. Waskul: 2003, Self-Games and Body-Play: Personhood in Online Chat and Cybersex, Peter Lang Publishing,
  • Brian McNair: 2002, Striptease Culture: Sex, Media and the Democratization of Desire, Routledge,
  • Andrejevic, M: 2013, Infoglut: How Too Much Information Is Changing the Way We Think and Know, Routledge,
  • Bailey, Jane and Steeve, Valerie: 2015, eGirls, eCitizens, University of Ottowa Press,
  • Attwood, Feona: 2009, Mainstreaming Sex: The Sexualisation of Western Culture, I.B. Tauris,
  • Attwood, Feona: 2009, Porn.Com: Making Sense of Online Pornography, Peter Lang Publishing Inc.,
  • Dobson, Amy Shields: 2015, Postfeminist Digital Cultures: Femininity, Social Media, and Self-Representation, Palgrave Macmillan,
  • Hillis, Ken, Paasonen, Susanna and Peitit, Michael: 2015, Networked Affect, Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
  • Jane, Emma E.: 2016, Misogyny Online: A Short (and Brutish) History, SAGE Publications,
  • Jarrett, Kylie: 2016, Feminism, Labour and Digital Media: The Digital Housewife, Routledge,
  • Nagle, Angela: 2017, Kill All Normies: Online Culture Wars from 4chan and Tumblr to Trump and the AltRight, Zero Books,
  • Paasonen, Susanna, Kylie Jarrett and Ben Light: 2018, #NSFW: Sex, Humor and Risk in Social Media, Massachusetts: MIT Press,
  • Papacharissi, Z.: 2014, Affective Publics: Sentiment, Technology, and Politics, Oxford University Press,
  • Siapera, Eugenia: 2017, Understanding New Media, 2nd edition, Sage Publications,
  • Sundén, Jenny & Sveningsson, Malin: 2012, Gender, Sexuality in Online Game Cultures: Passionate Play, Routledge,
  • Williams, Linda: 2004, Porn Studies, Duke University Press Books,
Other Resources

0, Report, Albury, K, Crawford K, Byron P, et al., 2013, Young People and Sexting in Australia: Ethics, Representation and the Law, Final Report, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australian Research Centre for Creative Industries and Innovation, 0, Report, Kiely, Elizabeth, Ging, Debbie, Kitching, Karl and Leane, Máire, 2015, The Sexualisation and Commercialisation of Children in Ireland: an exploratory study, Dublin, Department of Children and Youth Affairs, 0, Report, Ringrose, Jessica and Gill, Rosalind and Livingstone, Sonia and Harvey, Laura, 2012, A qualitative study of children, young people and 'sexting': a report prepared for the NSPCC, London, UK, National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children,
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