World at Your Phone: How Snappers Embody the Digital World

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This article is inspired by the framework of “existential media” (Lagerkvist 2016) and addresses the volume’s theme by taking issue with mainstream as well as phenomenologically (e.g. Dreyfus 2009) and psychologically (e.g. Turkle 2015) based claims about existential loss in ‘digital living’. On the basis of an analysis of the creation of a hyperembodied effect (Hougaard, Steen & Turner forthcoming) in a Snapchat selfie it is suggested that users of visual digital communication devices may achieve a hybrid embodied grip (Merleau-Ponty 1962) on mediated social encounters. Thereby the users moor and enrich mediated interpersonal communication and create the possibility of intimacy and “existential security” (Lagerkvist 2016) in digital living. The analysis draws upon a collection of sources, including phenomenologically inspired theory (Gallagher 2008), psychology (Tomasello 1999) and neuroscientific theory of aesthetics (Ramachandran & Hirstein 1999), in showing how intimate digital mediation and hyperembodiment is achieved in a gestalt where sender and receiver gear into each other and a shared medium in, with and through the affordances of their digital communicative technology.
Original languageEnglish
JournalRASK – International journal of language and communication
Pages (from-to)109-134
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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