Really pleased to hear that the journal article that I’ve been working on over the past year has had it’s final edits accepted, and should be published (open access) later in the year in Surveillance and Society Journal (I’ll likely share then too).
Social Media, Peer Surveillance, Spiritual Formation and Mission: Practicing Christian Faith in a Surveilled Public Space
By 2018, social media has become a part of everyday life, including the faith lives of many. It is a space that assumes an observed gaze. Engaging with Foucauldian notions of surveillance, self-regulation, and normalization, this paper considers what it is about social and digital culture that shapes expectations of what users can, or want, to do in online spaces. It reflects upon what ‘surveillance’ looks like within social media, especially when users understand themselves to be observed in the space, drawing upon a wide range of surveillance research. Recognising moral panics around technological development, the paper considers the development of social norms, and questions how self-regulation by users presents itself within a global population. Focusing upon the spiritual formation of Christian users (disciples) in an online environment as a case study of a community of practice, the paper draws particularly upon the author’s experiences online since 1997, and material from The Big Bible Project (2010-2015). The research demonstrates how the lived experience of the individual establishes the interconnectedness of the online and offline environments. The surveillant affordances and context collapse are liberating for some users, but restricting for others, in both their faith formation, and the subsequent imperative to mission.
This paper was developed from the presentation I gave at the AHRC Religion and Surveillance Network in Edinburgh last spring (you can see some associated content on the tag ‘surveillance‘). I started this paper after discussions with Prof Dom Medway at Manchester Met’s writing retreat last summer, and seemed to be doing well on it, when cancer rudely interrupted. Once work gave me the go-ahead to undertake study leave (as and when I felt well enough, mixed with sick leave), and with a little help:
Thanks to delegates at the AHRC Religions Consuming Surveillance Workshop, Edinburgh, (March 2017) for feedback on initial ideas, many of which were drawn from work undertaken for CODEC at the University of Durham (especially The Big Bible Project), colleagues at Manchester Metropolitan University for conversations and space to write, especially Cathy Urquhart and Dominic Medway for feedback upon drafts, and to the initial journal reviewers, who have made this a much stronger piece. I also thank those who gave me permission to quote conversations from social media, and the Women in Academia Support Network on Facebook for encouragement, especially Nadia von Benzon for early editorial input and feedback. I also appreciate my medical team at Stepping Hill Hospital and The Christie for enabling me to continue this whilst undergoing cancer treatment.
I submitted a full draft of the article the evening before chemotherapy (1 December), heard on 12 March 2018 that it had been accepted, but required some further work. I left it til chemo was finished, then worked on it whilst waiting for/undergoing radiotherapy, and re-submitted 13 May 2018. Today I received an email indicating that those edits have been accepted, and the work will be published in a special edition later this year. It’s been tough doing it amongst the chemo/radiotherapy side effects (including brainfog/fatigue), but certainly gave me something to focus on other than cancer!
It’s not on the ABS List (which all business schools aim for), but is in the top quartile for ‘Urban Studies’ and ‘Safety Research’ on Scimargo (so equivalent 3* or more):
Or you can see this tweet from the journal:
Thanks to our awesome authors, Surveillance and Society citation metrics up! https://t.co/JqUu6p2Hnx
— Surveillance & Society (@SurvSoc_Journal) June 11, 2018
Digiexplorer (not guru), Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing @ Manchester Metropolitan University. Interested in digital literacy and digital culture in the third sector (especially faith). Author of ‘Raising Children in a Digital Age’, regularly checks hashtag #DigitalParenting.