Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures

School of Media and Communication


Research Seminar: Jason Vincent Cabañes – Bold intimacies? Digital media and cross-cultural relationships in a postcolonial city

Clothworkers’ North, G.12 Lecture Theatre

This presentation talks about how the youth of a culturally diverse postcolonial city use digital media to explore cross-cultural relationships. I pay particular attention to young middle-class Filipinos and Punjabi Indians living in Metro Manila, The Philippines, as these two groups are often thought to be well-positioned to maximise opportunities for globalised intimacies. Using in-depth interviews from two parallel studies, I compare how Manila’s local and migrant middle-class youth use digital media to weave through the interstices of  “traditional” and “modern” intimacies. I contend that the digitally mediated relationships of these youth enable them to be bold in their explorations, especially when they are able to temporarily hold off the frictions between more traditional expectations about marriage and more modern ideas about intimate relationships. I also argue, however, that their digitally mediated relationships instantiate the limits of this boldness, in that their affairs are still heavily entangled with the distinct dynamics of multiculturalism in Metro Manila. Through this presentation, I hope to contribute to a nuanced understanding of the links between digital intimacies and the distinct articulations of cultural diversity in the postcolonies.

Jason Cabañes is Lecturer in International Communication at the School of Media and Communication, University of Leeds. His research on media, migration, and multiculturalism has been published in journals such as Media, Culture and Society, New Media and Society, and the International Journal of Cultural Studies. He has an upcoming co-edited book (with Cecilia Uy-Tioco) on Mobile Media and Asian Social Intimacies, which is slated for publication by Springer in 2019.


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