It is clear in today’s era that the digital communication infrastructure that enables access to the public sphere is privately owned and consequently has as its primary goal to increase the wealth of the corporate shareholders. Therefore, any support of a wider democratic ideal or discourse is a byproduct rather than a goal of our technology. This basic understanding of the purpose of our technology forms the basis of the research into social, political, and economic activism I conduct.
My research focuses on the dynamic impacts of digital communication technologies on social and political activism. Within this research area my special interest is the use of technology for purposes of activism among individuals who would not necessarily label themselves as activists. My intention is to better understand how technology can be seen to enable socially conscious behavior, and to explore the wider social impacts of this type of technology use. I frame this work as everyday activism, focusing on the mundane acts of users endeavoring to create social awareness or change through often inconsequential, unorganized participation. Their online activities are not necessarily civil disobedience in the traditional sense, but may include the flouting of social rules and norms that remains permissible in the scope of the privately owned public spaces that make up our political sphere.My most recent projects and publications highlight the importance of digital technologies for bisexual visibility, explorations into digital activism and its discontents, a rebuttal of slacktivism, the social disobedience practiced by mammary activists on digital platforms, and the role of technology in the “meme-ification” of activism. in addition to traditional academic publications, the outcomes of this research are presented in activist workshops, academic conferences, and incorporated into the classroom.
My research approach is fundamentally formed by my beliefs in the importance of four elements: 1) a cross disciplinary approach to theory, 2) implementing mixed methodologies, 3) international networks of collaboration, and 4) advocating for the voices of those I study to be heard. The latter point entails that my research is a form of activism where the researcher plays an active role in reflecting the experiences and expressed needs of participants.
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