New media are arenas in which new social and cultural practices emerge and existing practices are transformed. Social media in particular have led to a renegotiation of discourses connected to issues such as death and mourning (funeral selfies, online memorials), sexuality (sexting, dating apps), the body (pro-anorexia sites, breastfeeding selfies) and, more broadly, to the overall presentation of the self in everyday life. Furthermore, through their participatory nature, online media have the potential to subvert organisational structures, establish new norms of sociability and create convergence between existing media forms.
This colloquium addressed issues connected to culture online and the broad affordances (and constraints) digital media offer for identity, community and power. It introduced students to concepts, methodologies and tools from linguistics, cultural studies and visual analysis, and showed how they can be applied to a range of case studies.
In addition to gaining analytical skills, I hope that the students also gained an understanding of the new media and cultural literacies that digital media production requires.
The presentations below represent the students' independent research work on a range of topics connected to culture #online.