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Pornographic Imaginaries, Global Assemblages, and Risk: A Nethnography of Slam-Camming Amongst GBMSM

Project: Research

Description

Description herein is a proposal for a Canadian Institutes of Health Research research grant ($200,000 CAD).

Background. Illicit substances, commonly referred to as ‘chemicals’ (chems), have penetrated the everyday lives of gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (GBMSM) as never before. Combined with the increased use of 'chems', new online and mobile technologies have become not only a means of communication and connection, they are staging the architecture within which individual gay identity is being constructed and the GBMSM community is being reconfigured. Despite advancements in HIV treatment and prevention, GBMSM still account for 53% of all HIV infections in Canada. The supposition that gay/bi/queer communities are being reconfigured within online spaces compels us to undertake this study to explore the construction of risk, pleasure, and idealized bodies among GBMSM who participate in radical sexual practices such as slam-camming. “Slam-camming” is a practice wherein MSM share and/or record live webcam video of themselves and others (group sex) injecting drugs intravenously—slamming—while engaging in a host of sexual activities including but not limited to condomless sex. Sexualized drug experiences, including the slamming (IV) or smoking ('blowing clouds') of crystal meth is becoming very popular among GBMSM. Online environments—including cruising apps, chat rooms and group websites—have thus become contemporary driving forces in the semantics of radical sex practices among GBMSM. 
Objectives. Our research seeks to investigate how chemculture in the virtual spaces of slam-camming contributes to conceptions of identities and communities in terms of risk, pleasure, and idealized bodies. We need to further understand how slam-camming structures discourses and practices of GBMSM chemculture and, in turn, their role in the spread (and, in some cases, the mitigation and prevention) of HIV and other STBBIs. 

Theoretical Framework. The proposed research is rooted within the poststructuralist tradition. More precisely, the seminal works of Butler, Foucault and finally, Deleuze and Guattari, informs this theoretical framework. Our poststructuralist endeavour ought to be oriented towards political effects as well as bodily and embodied (sexual) intensities away from an analysis that would privilege a search for essences. 

Design and Methods. This research will employ an ethnographic methodology on the Internet (nethnography). An ethnographic perspective will allow the gathering of crucial/critical information regarding how individuals present themselves in various virtual and geographical locations as they seek/plan to slam on cam, the ways virtual technologies facilitate or inhibit risk-taking behaviors, and how the physicality of online and mobile devices create new assemblages and intensities. Data will be collected through online profiles, blogs, calls for meetings, online questionnaires and interviews. Analysis will follow the general principles of critical discourse analysis. 
Importance of the Proposed Research. The findings from our study, as well as our documentation of how we engaged these online spaces to conduct the research will, at the very least, provide guidance for service providers on how to reach into this virtual world for delivery of HIV and STBBI prevention interventions. For those focused more on the psycho-social impacts of sexualized drug use by GBMSM, the study will also provide fresh insight into aspects of the slam-camming subculture not previously found in the literature.
Short titleSlam-Camming
StatusNot started
Effective start/end date1/04/2131/03/23

Collaborative partners

  • University of Portsmouth
  • University of Ottawa (lead)
  • Dalhousie University (Project partner)
  • University of Toronto (Project partner)
Relations

ID: 22544638