Conférence présentée dans le cadre du séminaire de Marcel Burger "Langage en Action: nouveaux medias, réseaux sociaux, identités numériques et citoyenneté".
Like so many new media, digital photography has opened up whole new opportunities for people to create and organize their own bodily representations, just as cell phones have allowed us to take these projects into just about every nook and cranny of our lives. However, while digital technologies afford people a distinctive opportunity to experience their own and others' bodies in different ways, these technologies also open up possibilities for other people to regulate, control and abuse their bodies in different ways. Nowhere, I think, do we see this tension between freedom and control more clearly than in sexting.
Rather than looking at what people are actually doing in/with their sexts, my presentation focuses on the ways sexting is taken up as a topic of public discussion. Much of what we come to know about sexting is not so much what we are doing ourselves, but what we have been told others are (supposedly) doing. On this basis, my goal with this presentation is to demonstrate how public discourse about sexting is entangled in some all too familiar language ideologies; and the way people talk about sexting tells us as much about their attitudes (and prejudices) towards certain kinds of people, certain kinds of sexuality, as it does about communication and/or technology. More than this, however, I also want to show how sexting is caught up also with a number of closely related media ideologies and, indeed, some deep-seated semiotic ideologies.