Emotional Labor, Relational Labor, & Visual Labor

Annette Markham

Jul 6, 2016


Join us for a special PhD course entitled: Negotiating Identity in Social Media: Visual, Relational, and Emotional Labor within a symbolic interaction framework

October 11-14, 2016
Aarhus University, Denmark
(in person, with webcast lectures and online participation possibilities)
Online information, video clips, and notes: http://negotiatingidentity.tumblr.com/ 

Conveniently, this course is held the week following the AoIR conference in Berlin (Association of Internet Researchers). Course will be led by:

Nancy Baym (Microsoft Research and MIT);

Annette Markham, PhD (Aarhus University); and

Katrin Tiidenberg (Tallinn University and Aarhus University)

Description: This course introduces participants to contemporary concepts for studying how self, identity, and contexts are negotiated through interactive processes involving visuality, relationality, and emotionality. The metaphor of labor is used to highlight how these practices are constrained and enabled by economic rationalities, affordances of digital technologies, and contemporary norms around building identity through social media.

  1. Emotional Labor was developed as a sociological concept to understand certain workplace practices. This theory usefully addresses how, within an economic framework of producing the self as a ‘brand’ via social media, a labor model of controlled emotionality is invoked. This critical stance toward identity performance is a useful lens for studying how people perform and negotiate identity in social media contexts.
  1. Relational labor, a term developed by Nancy Baym to illustrate how performers build ongoing connections with disparate audiences, is an extension of emotional labor. This concept helps us consider the neoliberal frames within which our identity practices are caught, when using social media platforms geared toward audience building, and how the issues raised by emotional labor play out when moved from particular interactions to the unending connectivity social media demand.
  1. Visual labor is a concept that, like the previous two, can help researchers consider issues and practices around the digitally saturated self as a product of a visual economy.

Who can attend? Course is appropriate for PhD students, postdocs, and early career researchers in media studies, information studies, anthropology, sociology, political science, and other fields addressing social media practices or negotiation of identity. No prerequisite knowledge is necessary. 

Interested? Go to this google form to give us notification of your interest: http://goo.gl/forms/2SUXYTFEoVzdemOu1