Indigenous articulations of social media and digital assemblages of care

Ryan Frazer, Bronwyn Carlson*, Terri Farrelly

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
15 Downloads (Pure)


Studies show that, in times of need, Indigenous people across the continent now referred to as ‘Australia’ tend to rely more on the ‘informal’ connections of support, care and trust made with family, friends and community—connections which are increasingly mediated through digital technologies. Australian researchers have recently begun attending to the possibilities social media offers in sustaining networks of support ‘outside’ settler geographies of institutionalised health. This burgeoning digital health research, however, has tended to frame Indigenous people only as recipients of care; and it has mostly focused on the narrow remit of connecting Indigenous social media users with formal sources of health information and support. In this paper, we instead explore the already-existing ‘informal’ care practices of and between Indigenous social media users. We draw on recent developments in cultural and health geography, which have sought to understand care, health and wellbeing through Deleuze and Guattari's (1988) notion of ‘assemblage’, to chart the geographies of care that digital media makes possible. We show that Indigenous social media users are engaged in the production of distinct territorial arrangements of care. In identifying people in their networks who appear in need of help, they actively and creatively work to establish a suitable working arrangement to meet that need, which participants variously described through expressions of intimacy, networks, formality and atmosphere. These Indigenous articulations of digital media, we argue, are reterritorialising new spaces of care, safety and strength, against and outside the settler geographies that lead to widespread health disparities, and they challenge dominant narratives about Indigenous digital life.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100038
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalDigital Geography and Society
Early online date2 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2022. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • Assemblage
  • Care
  • Digital geography
  • Health
  • Indigenous
  • Social media


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