In this contribution, I do not engage in digital disconnection merely as an empirical phenomenon but as a way of seeing digital culture and as a heuristic. I do not ask whether or not digital disconnection is possible, is good or bad, or should be advocated or overcome. Instead, I adopt Eva Illouz’s framework of a negative sociology of social bonds to explore what it would mean to study digital culture from the perspective of negative choice. The conceptual framework is illustrated with three empirical cases that show what it would mean to engage in a negative sociology of digital culture. The shift in perspective from positive bonds to the choice to disengage, not use, or exit certain fora makes visible how digital culture is not only increasingly characterized by polarization, but also how disconnection emerges as a civic virtue that puts the individual user’s responsibility at the forefront.
Kaun, A. (2021). Ways of seeing digital disconnection: A negative sociology of digital culture. Convergence, 27(6), 1571–1583. https://doi.org/10.1177/13548565211045535