Expanding the Perspectives on Affective Scaffoldings

User-resource interactions and Mind-shaping in Digital Environments


  • Daniele Valentini Osnabrück University




Affective Scaffolds, User-Resource Interactions, Mind-shaping, Platform, Smartphones


The debate in 4e approaches around scaffolded affectivity has yielded two models: user-resource interactions and mind-shaping. The former sees affective states as the result of the active manipulations performed by individuals on their environments. The latter examines human affectivity as shaped by the pressures exerted by socio-material contexts on individuals. Despite recognizing the interconnection between the two models in scaffolding affective experiences, the existing literature has mostly sidelined how they interrelate in online environments. In this paper, I argue that considering 1) the pace and infrastructure on which online interactions take place; and 2) the socio-material character of the devices we use to access online platforms (e.g., smartphones), affectivity, in digital environments, unfolds along a continuous alternation (and integration) of user-resource interactions and mind-shaping phases. First, I present the user-resource interactions and mind invasion models adding a recently introduced mind-shaping perspective that includes and expands the limited analytical scope of mind invasion. Second, I examine the mind-shaping influence of digital platforms on which users’ affective engagements are harnessed within a programmed sociality made of interfaces, algorithms, online groups and other users. Third, I present smartphones qua hybrid artifacts that allows users to permanently micromanage their interactions online while leaving them open to the mind-shaping effects of social media. Last, I examine Alt-Right echo chambers as digital structures in which affectivity is situated along an alternation (and integration) of user-resource interactions and mind-shaping moments.