|My research focuses on new digital media and cultural production both large and small. My endeavors have centered on 2 areas of inquiry within cultural production. The first interrogates notions of value, participation, and ďfreeĒ labor on the internet. I have looked at a number of ďsitesĒ as case studies to ask: what kinds of value does the work of fan communities, volunteers and others add to commercial enterprises? What are their (industry and user) norms, practices and values? And how do they engage with technologies/laws/policies that afford or frustrate participation? I was one of the first researchers to study video game fan communities that make valuable modifications to popular PC games (modders), for example, and have written on the history of AOL volunteer communities and their labor disputes.|
My second line of research focuses on technologically mediated activism. I interrogate this topic generally by asking how technological resistance structures activism in social movements? I am concerned with how ICTs, hacks, workarounds and other circumvention and organization measures might impact the role of individuals and organizations bent on social change. My own contributions in that vein have centered on the digital rights or free culture movement and their use of technological measures as a form of activism. My book on that topic just came out from MIT Press.
As I look forward to the next few years Iím hoping to continue looking into technology and activism. Currently Iím conducting research on Web 2.0 and social change organizations, for example. Iím doing that with Carla Ilten from the Technical University of Berlin who now a graduate student on sociology at the University of Illinois Chicago . Recently, Iíve started thinking about privacy and participation in web platforms. Iíve just wrapped up research on the US security/privacy industry and its branding and marketing practices. That project was funded by the European Commission 7th Programme Framework. My collaborators and I recently published a co-edited a volume on that topic. Itís available from Palgrave Macmillan Press.
Lastly, Tarleton Gillespie (from Cornell University) and I recently received funding from the National Science Foundation for a new project on cultural production in the digital age. We have some great collaborators from all over the world joining us for this project and are also organizing some workshops. Weíve founded a blog, Culture Digitally, which is getting some nice traffic!