Juliana Friend

Research Interests: Digital Media; Citizenship; Health/Communicative Inequality; Pornography; Ethics; Senegal; Gender and Sexuality; multimodal ethnography; collaborative knowledge production


My research explores how ethics of gendered personhood shape, and are shaped by, social media policy and practice. Entitled "Don't Click Here! Porn, eHealth and Radical Politics of Care in Senegal," my dissertation explores transformations of the Senegalese ethic of sutura (discretion or modesty) through the lens of modesty’s digital dissidents: queer eHealth activists, women working with porn images, and social media-savvy young women. Sutura predicates claims to national belonging and social personhood on the ability to project and manage a boundary between “intimate” and “public” life. When marginalized Senegalese conspicuously blend intimate and impersonal address through dating websites or porn algorithms, these “digital dissidents” epitomize sutura’s transgression. This reflects what I call the double bind of digital intimate citizenship; within particular contemporary arrangements of connectivity and governance, moral citizenship depends upon the ability to manage the circulation of one’s digital data and image. Yet only those construed as belonging to the moral community can claim the agency to determine how, to whom, and how much their data circulates.

My research ultimately shows that those caught in the double bind of digital intimate citizenship powerfully reframe notions of personhood, nation and care that undergird digital inequities. A co-creator of many-to-many.net, I am also interested in experimental design logics that facilitate the equitable creation, circulation, and archiving of ethnographic knowledge.