Blog for the Gender and Digital Culture project, a study exploring the impact of digital media and communications on (gendered) relationships and interactions
I’m based at the University of Southampton and am currently in the third year of my English Literature PhD project titled ‘Problem Families and the Welfare State in Post War British Literature 1945-1975’ which examines interactions between the welfare state and so-called ‘problem families’. My research investigates how the state and the general public conceptualised these families through the lens of fiction and non-fiction texts from the period, with a particular emphasis upon psychiatry, social housing and family planning.
Another of my main research interests is the relationship between science and identity, especially genetics and epigenetics. Alongside my PhD project I’m working on an article which will ask if new epigenetic discoveries are able to elaborate or critique Judith Butler’s ideas about gender performativity.
I was attracted to the Gender and Digital Culture project because it is becoming increasingly apparent that many of today’s most fascinating (and sometimes disturbing) discussions of contentious social issues such as gender, race and the limits of acceptable individual expression are taking place in online social media. In addition, social media provides people with an opportunity to self-consciously construct identities which, although based on, are ultimately distinct from their offline persona. These two aspects of social media means that it is able to both express often unarticulated attitudes about men, women and trans people, while simultaneously capturing and recording gendered behaviours which would have remained ephemeral in the offline world.