Skype: Bodies, Screens, Space  book cover
1st Edition

Skype: Bodies, Screens, Space

ISBN 9781138601109
Published May 2, 2018 by Routledge
162 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Despite the popularity of Skype with video many of us are still figuring out how to ‘do’ it. Interviews reveal that we can now run the programme but we are less certain about how to ‘perform’ in front of the webcam. Seeing ourselves in the box on the side can feel strange. We are not quite sure which bits of our bodies to display on the screen, how much to move around the room, or move the device around the room. Is it acceptable to use Skype with video at a funeral, in crowded spaces or while in bed? This book addresses how people are emotionally and affectually connecting with others audio-synchronously on the screen in a variety of different spatial contexts. Topics include Skype with video being used by grandparents to connect with grandchildren, friends and family using it for special occasions, and partners using it for romance and sex. Theories addressing bodies, gender, queerness, phenomenology and orientation inform the research. It concludes that while Skype does not offer some kind of utopian future, it does open up possibilities for existing power relations to be filtered through new lines of sight/site which are shaping what bodies can do and where.

Table of Contents

List of illustrations




1 Why Skype, why now?

Feeling my way

Milestones for Skype

Where to from here?

2 Queer phenomenology: from writing tables to digital screens

Getting orientated

Spinning outwards




3 Interviewing: face-to-face and on Skype

The participants

Feeling the interviews

Shifting senses

Internet sources or ‘vulgar geographies’

4 Selves, others, objects and space

The self in the box

The difference gender makes

‘Theatres of composition’

5 Families, friends and loved ones

Across the generations

Special occasions

‘Sinking’ into the spaces of Skype

6 Skype for work: ‘A bit weird’

Job interviews

Meetings and collegial communications


7 Skype sex: ‘Queer effects’?

Katie’s story

Real sex and contrived sex

Generational difference?

8 Reorientating bodies and spaces

Lines of sight/site

Back to writing tables and digital screens




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Robyn Longhurst is Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic and Professor of Geography at University of Waikato. She has served as Editor-in-Chief of Gender, Place and Culture: A Journal of Feminist Geography and Chair of the International Geographical Union Commission on Gender and Geography. Robyn has published on issues relating to digital media, pregnancy, mothering, sexuality, ‘visceral geographies’, masculinities, and body size and shape.