I am interested in how the digital world produces new identities, and how such distinctive identities are negotiated and enacted. I have a special interest in the ways media fans interact creatively with media texts to produce emotive and embodied understandings of gender and sexuality; I pay particular attention to the complex intersections of online and offline everyday life.
I have recently explored the positionality of the researcher as a participant/observer, and I advocated the need for the fan scholar to adopt a self-reflexive digital auto-ethnographical methodology for researching online communities. I am currently working on an auto-ethnography of my long-term participation in online forums, looking at the problematic construct of “critical distance” and the ways this construct is used to perform emotional work.
My current research also explores wider social and cultural changes as they are reflected in the online interactions of media fans. I have analysed new forms of masculinity in a Neoliberal context: I am now looking at the ways in which online communities produce emerging understandings of gender and sexuality.
My next project will expand my analysis to a larger set of online phenomena, including digital lobbying and grassroot activism, collaborative multimedia archives on Tumblr, experimental narratives on Twitter, online roleplaying and celebrity appropriation. I will examine how such phenomena produce identities, subjectivities and practices which anticipate and reflect current cultural trends in our contemporary society.