Party ‘n’ Play
Online hook-up devices and the emergence of PNP practices among gay men
Kane Race
Department of Gender & Cultural Studies
University of Sydney, Australia
The renunciative turn
–
Popular discourses increasingly pin HIV preventionas a
possibility that relies on the renunciation of substance use
(and sometimes even casual sex!)
–
To counter this, we need engaged analyses of sex/drug
cultures so that the possibilities of safety/care that are
immanent within these cultures can be identified and fostered
Online hookup sites/apps/locative devices
A new(ish) infrastructure of the sexual encounter
– If institutions allocate resources and establish hierarchies
of authority
– Infrastructures produce capacities and shape encounters
in ways that become more or less durable components of
everyday routines
Party and Play (“PNP”)
• Also known as ”partying”, “wired play”, “chem sex”, “extended
sessions”
• At home; arranged online; involving one or more partners over
extended period of time; use of psychoactive substances (typically
crystal meth, smoked, GHB); pornography; etc. - a specifically
assembled erotic environment.
• About 15% - 20% of Sydney gay men had participated in PNP in last 6
months
• Approached as a pathogenic site by public health literature
• Also a site for the elaboration of specific affective associations
2004 community ed poster NYC
• In social/political theory, the technological
object/commodity is typically positioned as
responsible for the demise of sociality, community,
politics, etc.
• An alternative approach asks “How do objects/devices
mediate sociality?” (Object-oriented process studies)
Sex as play
• “Looking to play?”
• Georg Simmel, “The sociology of sociability” ([1910] 1949) – role of
play-form in the making of sociability
• Bruno Latour’s “associology”- challenges the notion that “society”
or “community” explains anything – rather these formations need
to be explained, by tracing their assemblage.
Distinctive features/formations
• Pre-specification of practices and desires
• Co-construction of fantasy/ erotic speculation
• Wired play/ extended sessions
Serosorting
The emergence of undetectable identity
Sexual speculation
Generative encounters
• “the crystallization of their fantasies in the texts that constitute the
vehicle for their interaction is akin to the joint construction of a script” (P.
Adam et al. 2011: 507).
• N.B Here desires, intentions and even identities do not precede the online
encounter in any simple sense, but can be understood to emerge from it
through a process of eventuation.
•
(On eventuation see Race, “Complex events”, forthcoming this year in
Contemporary Drug Problems)
Group play/ extended sessions
What are some implications for HIV prevention and education?
•
Requires a different form of health education than that which addresses itself to the
sovereign, intentional, calculative, rational-choice actor.
•
It becomes impossible to classify any individual element in a sexual assemblage as good or
bad since their properties are emergent
•
What matters is the manner in which various different elements come together in an
assemblage to generate specific effects (whether good or bad) – and it is this coming
together that requires specific attention and vigilance.
•
A training in potentialities (both promising and dangerous) – what I call “speculative
pragmatism”
•
Promoting this mode of attention might become the goal of a new form of sexual health
and drug education.
Acknowledgements
•
This research has been supported by an Australian Research Council Discovery
Grant, “Changing Spaces of HIV Prevention” DP120101990.
•
Thanks to the community of informants who have shared their experiences and
impressions of changes to sexual community and gay sexual culture.
•
Article based on this paper forthcoming this year in Sexualities
•
Two related pieces forthcoming in Contemporary Drug Problems and Culture,
Health & Sexuality.
Download

online hook-up devices and the emergence of PNP practices among