Theodora is a digital anthropologist and ESRC DTP Postdoctoral Fellow. For her DPhil she conducted ethnography at a "digital detox" retreat in California. Her research explores technology and mental health as situated in cultural context.
Dr Theodora Sutton
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Theodora Sutton is an ESRC DTP Postdoctoral Research Fellow.
Theodora completed her DPhil at the Oxford Internet Institute in 2021. For her doctoral research, she studied a community of “digital detoxers” at a summer camp for adults and digital detox retreat in Northern California. This camp offered a way to better understand Western techno-anxiety and fears of digital harm, and to situate the moral panic around digital technology firmly within American cultural narratives.
Theodora’s doctoral thesis, “Digital Re-Enchantment”, tells the stories of the people she met in this community, showing how they navigated loneliness, mental health, success, and spirituality while living in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Theodora’s research began in the context of a Fine Art degree at Wimbledon College of Art, where her sculptures and installations explored differing attitudes to online life; whether it makes us feel more or less “connected” to one another.
She is currently writing a book based on her fieldwork and makes ceramic art about digital experiences.
During her DPhil at the OII, Theodora also helped to run the seminar series OxDEG: Oxford Digital Ethnography Group.
Digital Anthropology, Digital Detoxing, Mental Health, Millennials, American culture, American politics, New Age Spirituality, Art, Food Metaphors, Neuroscience, Folk Theories
Positions held at the OII
- DPhil student, October 2015 – May 2021
- (2017) "Our Virtues and Devices: Exploring the Digital Detox" In: Are We All Addicts Now? Digital Dependence Bartlett, V. and Bowden-Jones, H. (eds.).
- (2017) "Disconnect to reconnect: The food/technology metaphor in digital detoxing", First Monday. 22 (6).
OxDEG – Living with Technology, Turning Down the News: Forces of Disenchantment and Re-Enchantment in a Community of Digital Detoxers
17 May 2021
OxDEG is pleased to welcome Dr. Theodora Sutton to deliver this online session.
23 January 2019
Panellists will reflect on ethical challenges in the context of digital ethnography and how they overcame any hurdles by sharing their approaches.
7 February 2018
The Oxford Internet Institute is excited to have Theodora Sutton, DPhil student at the OII, for the OxDeg talk 'Digital detox: One Forest, Two Cities, and My Facebook'.
4 February 2020
Authors: Theodora Sutton
Q&A with Doctoral Candidate Theodora Sutton In her article “Digital Harm and Addiction: an Anthropological View“, published in Anthropology Today, OII DPhil student and ...
2 March 2017
Authors: David Sutcliffe, Theodora Sutton
The new (old) inbox. Camp Grounded tries to build up attendees’ confidence to be silly and playful, with their identities less tied to their ...
25 August 2021 Reuters
As the pandemic fuels tech fatigue, researchers cast doubt on the benefits of a 'digital detox'.
24 July 2018 The New Statesman
As an anthropologist specialising in ‘Digital Detoxing,’ I’ve watched years of anti-tech rhetoric play out through over-used riffs.
I conduct my research in line with the University's academic integrity code of practice.