Department of Anthropology

Melissa Gregg: Ambient Companions

Mon, November 12, 2012 | SAC 5.118

12:00 PM


UT Department of Anthropology Presents

2012-2013 Speaker Series

“The Long Hand: Anthropology, Writing, and Inscription”


Melissa Gregg

Gender and Cultural Studies, University of Sydney

“Ambient Companions”


Monday, November 12

SAC 5.118, 12 pm


Online media platforms have transformed traditional avenues for intimacy in at least two crucial ways:  in the preference for surface (brevity) over depth (length) in self-broadcasts, and in the capacity to project oneself beyond immediate physical surroundings.  As we enter a third wave of pervasive, social computing, the affective qualities of network culture include a host of ambient relationships that suggest new communities of participation, pleasure, witnessing and care.  The significance of this everyday virtual companionship requires ongoing emphasis, not only in light of persistent criticisms of mediated friendships, but due to broader economic conditions that place limits on normative aspiration.

Melissa Gregg is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Gender and Cultural Studies at the University of Sydney. Her research focuses on changing labor conditions in post-Fordist work cultures, and the synergies between desirable economic and intimate selves.  Using a range of cultural studies techniques – textual analysis, online and offline ethnography, visual empiricism and fieldwork – her writing attends to the affective dimensions of everyday life, with technology as a focus.  Recent publications include Work’s Intimacy (Polity 2011), The Affect Theory Reader (Duke 2010), and Cultural Studies’ Affective Voices (Palgrave 2006).


For further information please contact Adriana Dingman at

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