The internet, and social media in particular, create new opportunities and pose new challenges for the ways people think about themselves as well as manage the expressions of their identities. In this research project I aim to enrich our knowledge about the transformations of identity in the new media landscape of the early XXI century by investigating those transformations from the perspective of diasporic LGBTQs, that is, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. I will focus on the latest theories on social media and identity about 1) fixating the fragmented self (van Zoonen 2013), 2) collapsed contexts (boyd 2011) and 3) the multiplication of contexts (Papacharissi 2011), by investigating those phenomena from the perspective of Polish post-accession immigrants to the UK. I will examine what diasporic LGBTQs and their social media’s uses can teach us about the relationship between the internet and identity, as well as what opportunities and difficulties social media create to a group that faces different challenges of exclusion and discrimination. I will first use a quantitative survey to map the diversity of social media used by Polish LGBTQs in the UK. However, because I am primarily interested in meanings of daily media practices, it is qualitative methods, and in-depth interviews in particular, which will form the core of my methodological toolkit. At the same time, to trigger more and better quality data I will combine traditional qualitative methods with such innovative approaches as think-aloud protocols (which require from participants to talk about the activity in which they are involved) and digital methods (the methods of the medium under scrutiny).
Call for proposal
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