ABSTRACT. This article describes the ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) video – a visual form of technologically-mediated, intimacy-inducing sound performance – and its accompanying embodied, psychosensory effects as a mode of literacy production and reception that blurs the boundaries between what something might mean semantically and symbolically and what it could mean as a texture of sound whose pleasures are independent of rational thought. What, this article asks, do the affective, sonic entanglements of ASMR imply for literacy teaching, research and learning? Turning to a conceptual assemblage of non-representational theories, this article also draws on the creative possibilities of psychoanalysis. Referring to a number of ASMR videos on YouTube, this discussion considers three major challenges that this sensorially affective practice brings to literacy: radical forms of intimacy, oscillatory readings, and invitations to unintelligibility. This article then concludes by considering ASMR as a posthuman structure of feeling.

Keywords: ASMR; literacy; affect; non-representational theory; structure of feeling

How to cite: Lewkowich, D. (2022). “ASMR Literacies: Toward a Posthuman Structure of Feeling,” Knowledge Cultures 10(2): 123–144.

Received 12 February 2022 • Received in revised form 14 April 2022
Accepted 1 July 2022 • Available online 01 August 2022

David Lewkowich
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University of Alberta
Edmonton, Canada

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