Social Media: Identities, Spaces and Research

deadline for submissions: 
June 30, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
University of Worcester: School of Humanities, Media & Culture

Social Media: Identities, Spaces and Research

The proliferation of social media has become one of the primary concerns of academics within the fields of media, communications and cultural studies. Seminal research and analysis by Nancy Baym, danah boyd, Zizi Papacharissi and Christian Fuchs for example, has focussed on the application of critical social theory, offering evaluation and critique of social media in relation to: capitalism (including power, digital capitalism, digital labour, post-capitalism), democracy, surveillance (including big data), performance, value, political economy, imagined communities, public / private paradox and, internet literacy.

We are keen to extend and / or challenge these theories and concepts particularly in relation to identity politics, feminism(s), and spaces. We think it is necessary to interrogate the potential social media has to represent and / or interrogate contemporary discourses in these fields, and are keen to explore whether extended, nuanced inter-sects are revealed in / on / through social media applications and / or platforms.

We propose that social media is a valid and emerging research methodology in its own right, being keen to interrogate the potentialities and pitfalls of associated research practice, process and ethics and, specifically as part of the agenda to interrogate identities, gender and/ or sexualities and spaces.

We invite papers on, but not limited to the following the areas:

  • Identities
    • Gender and / or sexualities
    • (Post-)Feminism(s)
    • (Post-)Queer
    • Femininities and / or masculinities
    • LGBTQ+ studies
  • Spaces
    • Confessional, ‘safe’ spaces (E.G. in light of #MeToo and #TimesUp campaigns)
    • Politics and activism
    • Dangerous, misogynistic spaces (E.G. in light of trolling, online violence and abuse, ‘incel’ subculture, online stalking and harassment)
    • Digital, augmented potentialities
    • Environments – the ecological dimension
  • Methodology
    • (‘Big’) Data collection, storage and analysis
    • Research data as data for corporations
    • Research process as contributing to the wider social agenda and / or implications of social media
    • Social impact and / or reach
    • Public profiles as ‘data’
    • Establishing social media profiles and / or platforms as research practice
    • Effective engagement of participants
  • Ethics
    • Sensitive data collection (E.G. in light of GDPR and confidentiality)
    • Participant consent (E.G. in light of personal profiles in the public domain)
    • Genuine engagement (E.G. in light of the mis-use of hashtags, verifying participant identity)
    • Genuine accounts / profiles (E.G. in relation to creative practice as research; organic reach)
    • Researcher accounts / profiles (E.G. in relation to reach and / or impact; research ‘persona’ and / or background; influence and / or effect on participation; brand / impression management; researcher bias)


The Media and Culture team and their postgraduate students, within the School of Humanities at the University of Worcester, will host this symposium, located at a city centre location in September 2019. The deadline for sending 300 word abstracts for 20 minute papers is June 30th 2019. We also invite 60 minute panel proposals (500 words) involving dynamic, innovative and interactive techniques / strategies. Make it clear in your email whether you a proposing a single paper or a panel. Please also send 100 word bios and any details of technology / AV requirements. The contact email address is: For more specific enquiries please contact, Katy Wareham Morris: