Social surrogates or posthuman lovers? : love dolls in the robotic moment

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Wong, Nathan
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Arts and Science
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Dept. of Sociology
In this study, I address the status of human relationships with the contemporary sex or love doll by situating these relationships at the intersection between communications technologies and subjectivity. Critical discourse analysis of testimonials, advertising, a sub forum from The Doll Forum website, and photographs challenged the two prevalent perspectives: the surrogacy thesis, which suggests that dolls operate as stand-ins for absent human partners, and the commodification of sex thesis, which cast love dolls as masturbatory devices and their users as sexually deviant. Drawing upon critical social theory, particularly Sherry Turkle’s (2011) concept of the robotic moment and a reconfiguration of Keith Basso’s (1996) notion of interanimacy, I argue that, rather than supplements or surrogates, sociable technologies and objects are participants in social interactions, communications, and relationships.
love doll , robotic moment , simulated relationships