In its broadest sense, my research agenda critically examines sites of culture that are often considered benign, inconsequential, or "merely" commercial to examine how popular and promotional culture are central to struggles over power. More specifically, my research is concerned with the ways in which broader national and transnational formations, as well as forms of mobility, are imagined and enacted with and through popular and promotional culture and industries. Drawing on my background in anthropology and media and cultural studies, I use a range of qualitative methods - including ethnography, interviews, discourse analysis, and textual analysis - and theoretical approaches to ask and answer questions about the social construction of spaces, places, and the people who move through them. My research primarily focuses on the social media entertainment industry, influencers and creators, and platforms as sites of cultural production.
I am currently working on my dissertation, which examines how nations have increasingly turned to influencer marketing, social media platforms, and inter/infomediaries in order to brand and communicate national identity and forms of mobility. I take a transnational feminist approach to critically consider how influencer marketing - often considered a feminized form of cultural production and frequently dismissed as vain, frivolous, or facile - has been central to constructing and marketing national identity and transnational connections. This research is concerned with the relationship between popular culture and the state, branding and citizenship, and the perceived role of the influencer and the rapidly formalizing social media entertainment industry in both media industries and the global cultural economy.
Most recently, my research has focused on the para-industry that surrounds the social media entertainment industry and structures intermediary work, including influencer retreats, payment and legal apps for creators and influencers, and the emergence of trade associations within the industry. This work examines the construction of the social media entertainment industry itself, as well as the ways that familiar hierarchies of race, gender, and class are challenged or reproduced within the industry, by turning to the texts, products, and other peripheral materials that surround it.
Take a look at my published work or read more about what I'm currently working on below.
What I'm Working On
PAYMENT APPS AND REVIEW PLATFORMS IN INFLUENCER ECOLOGIES
This research examines the influx of payment apps and review platforms for creators that have emerged to give influencers/creators more control in the social media entertainment industry. Presented at the Society for Cinema and Media Studies annual conference, 2023.
TRADE ASSOCIATIONS AND PROFESSIONALIZATION IN THE INFLUENCER INDUSTRY
This research examines the emergence of trade associations and discourses of professionalization within the influencer industry, particularly focusing on the American Influencer Council as a case study. Research ongoing at Microsoft Research-New England with the Social Media Collective.