Embodied Wellbeing: A Re-Imagination of Sustainability and Desire in HCI

Research output: Book/anthology/dissertation/reportPh.D. thesisResearch

Sustainability research in Human Computer Interaction (HCI) proposes a resource conservation perspective with the aim of creating energy efficient technologies and supporting better consumption practices. These efforts, successful in many ways, have also been critiqued by scholars for failing to engage with issues of social justice. Informed by existing feminist scholarship in HCI and Women’s Studies, my dissertation explores the relationships between sustainable interaction design, gender, and desire.

The connection between gender and sustainability may seem counterintuitive. But what might, and what should, be common to both is a conception of what I call “embodied wellbeing.” Embodied wellbeing holistically incorporates the need to relate well to others (i.e., sociality, sexuality), to be comfortable in one’s own skin (i.e., identity, selfhood, embodiment, sexuality), to live in a harmonious relation with one’s physical environments (i.e., sustainability, space and place, embodiment), and to have agency and a voice in one’s social environments (i.e., marginality, power/knowledge, embodiment).

I build my project based on the findings of a series of studies on desire and sustainability in HCI: A critical discourse analysis of 70 publications on sexuality in HCI; an empirical study on a sex-related social media site exploring the ways that system design choices and emergent social behavior constitute an erotic social media platform; a lab study on digital sex toys and intimacy; and a Foucauldian genealogical analysis, informed by ecofeminist theory, of 168 publications on sustainable HCI to provide conceptual tools and action-oriented strategies to address issues facing sustainability research in HCI today. I synthesize these studies to understand the relationships among material practices, socio-political arrangements, and inter-personal relationships with the aim of helping researchers and practitioners reimagine relationships between technologies, bodies, and their lived ecologies.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages297
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes

    Research areas

  • ecofemninism, gender, sustainability, sexuality, social justice, design,

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