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Moderating the ‘worst of humanity’: sexuality, witnessing, and the digital life of coloniality

Breslow, Jacob ORCID: 0000-0001-8643-9804 (2018) Moderating the ‘worst of humanity’: sexuality, witnessing, and the digital life of coloniality. Porn Studies, 5 (3). 225 - 240. ISSN 2326-8743

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Identification Number: 10.1080/23268743.2018.1472034


An estimated one hundred thousand people worldwide work as content moderators, responding to the millions of photos and videos uploaded online every minute. Primarily employed by outsourcing companies in the Philippines, these labourers scrub social media of sexual content. This article unpacks what it calls the ‘digital life of coloniality’ as it is produced through content moderation along two lines of interrogation. It initially suggests that the traditional understanding of the coming together of sexuality, subjectivity, and regulation under colonialism are rendered more complex by content moderation, positioning the formerly colonized as regulators of their former colonizers’ sexualities. Secondly, asking questions of witnessing, ethics, and accountability, it interrogates the lines of disavowal and displacement which structure the offshoring of violent, obscene, and mundane sexual content. Contributing to the field of porn studies, it suggests that the ambivalent and multiple directions of sexual subject production within digital coloniality be addressed anew.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2018 Informa UK Limited
Divisions: Gender Studies
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
J Political Science > JV Colonies and colonization. Emigration and immigration. International migration
Date Deposited: 26 Apr 2018 14:22
Last Modified: 15 May 2024 23:15

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