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Gabriel Jackson

Languages and Literature, University of Nottingham

Thesis title:

Identity negotiation in the context of internet surveillance: A sociolinguistic investigation into transgender people?s discourse online.

This research aims to use linguistic analysis to examine how identities are construced in the face of pervasive online surveillance. For marginalised communities, privacy and the abiliy to control one’s visibility can be especially important in creating space to freely express identities and cultural practices that are socially stigmatised without fear of discrimination. In an online environment, the ability to create such spaces and vary individual self-presentation in a context-dependent way is complicated by the potential for surveillance by multiple known and unknown entities at any given time – a phenomenon known as ‘context collapse’.

This research aims to use discourse-centred online ethnography to explore how transgender individuals use language to construct online identities when faced with these particular issues, and identify what linguistic tactics are used to manage the particular challenges of online surveillance in various ways. In addition to linguistic analysis of social media material, the research will be supplemented by interview data to provide additional context with the knowledge that self-presentation on social media can be – often intentionally – misleading, and in recognition of the fact that ‘online’ and ‘offline’ are deeply interwoven in everyday life.

Research Area

  • Languages and Literature