My name’s Anne Burns and I’m a PhD candidate at Loughborough University in the UK.

The research I’m currently doing for my thesis considers how photographic discourse is a means for enacting discipline and social control. I argue that such discourses seek to regulate subjects as they enter the public sphere of the Internet, prescribing how visible, on what terms, and with what characteristics, such subjects can be made or permitted to appear.

Criticisms of body shape, of gender performance and of ‘oversharing’ dominate in this environment, where notions of propriety are enacted not just on the targets of assessment, but also on the viewer. I call this multi-directional and dissipated form of discipline The Carceral Net: a term I have borrowed from Michel Foucault (Discipline and Punish: 297).

In addition, I also look at the connection between photographic practice and gendered symbolic violence – as exemplified in ‘revenge porn’ – whereby women’s use of intimate photography is normalised as a justification for their humilation.





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