Julia Davies–January 20, 2013

Julia Davies

Dr. Julia Davies
University of Sheffield, UK

(Im)Material girls living in (im)material worlds: identity curation through time and space

 January 20, 2013
3:00 p.m. EST/USA
Student host: Tara Campbell

Dr. Julia Davies is a Senior Lecturer at Sheffield University in Sheffield, England. Her research interests span digital literacies, online learning, and textual analysis.

Currently, Julia researches language and literacy in relation to digital text making practices. She investigates how people use technology to produce texts as part of their everyday-life, such as in social networking sites such as Facebook, Flickr, and YouTube. Specifically, Julia looks at how individuals produce texts using a range of modes, such as pictures, emoticons, moving images, different fonts, specialized spelling and vocabulary, and how this affects the way we live our lives, see ourselves and communicate with each other to engage in new literacies practices. Additionally, Julia studies the ways in which the processes in online spaces can be harnessed to influence learning and teaching in more formal spaces such as schools and universities. She is interested in the cultural and social implications of new literacy practices and the ways in which these impact on individual lives and identities. As part of this research, Julia is developing ways of analyzing online interaction, particularly exploring how people are learning through their interactions. Her analytical approach takes account of linguistic and non-linguistic textual features such as emoticons, textual layout, sound and moving image.

This presentation draws on a project looking at the role of Facebook in the lives of a group of fashion conscious trainee hairdressers living in a city in the north of England.  The research has an ethnographic texture, where I, the researcher, shared in the young women’s Facebook spaces and took part in their conversations. They washed, cut and dyed my hair; they had lunch with me and we talked about our lives on and off line. We were ‘Facebook friends’.  Facebook was the lens through which I viewed their lives and through which I traced interactions and events.  These women, aged between 17 and 19 and studying at a local college, were neither confident about, nor interested in, academic reading or writing; their pre-occupations were strongly materially driven, being interested in fashion and beauty and trying to acquire financial independence at a time when jobs were scarce and everything is expensive. Despite their focus on the material world, they invested substantial amounts of time reading and writing within Facebook and on their mobile (cell) phones.  These literacy practices were an essential part of their social and working lives; being used to make social and work arrangements; to advertise their hairdressing skills; to find out information; to de-brief after social events; to display aspects of their life events – or indeed sometimes constituting social events in themselves.  Thus Facebook sometimes mediated and sometimes constituted social acts, becoming part of the fabric of their everyday lives. Much of the social work which the women performed within and around Facebook, concentrated upon crafting presentations of the self and their connections with each other; textual identity performances which both reflected but also impacted upon how they saw themselves, their world and their place within it.  Many spaces became embedded within Facebook – and vice versa; the boundedness of different spaces seemed porous as images of bedrooms, nightclubs and bars, the salon and the college were displayed in online albums. The online context seemed to bring these spaces closer, blending the private and the public and flexing the boundaries between them. The very materiality of the young women’s lives was drawn into and reflected within digital spaces, so that they often regarded themselves on a moment by moment basis, within the ‘glass cabinet’ of the curated online world, whilst still materially rooted outside of it. The world of text and the material world had a synergy, sometimes blending together; the data was enriched further by the ways in which the womens’ performance of feminine Discourses was affected by global popular culture trends.  I argue that this dynamic gave rise to complex interactions and relationships bringing about new ways of performing and understanding the self.

Julia is the author of a number of articles including the following:
Davies, J. (2011). Computer Mediated Communication. In Companion to Discourse Analysis. Paltridge, B. (University of Sydney, Australia) and Hyland, K. (Institute of Education, London) (Eds.). London, England: Palgrave.

Davies, J., & Merchant, G. (2009). Web 2.0 for Schools: Learning and Social Participation. New York, NY: Peter Lang.

Davies, J. (2009). A space for play: crossing boundaries and learning online. In Carrington and Robinson (eds.). Contentious Technologies: Digital Literacies, Social Learning and Classroom Practices. London, England: Sage.

Davies, J. (2009). Online Connections, collaborations, chronicles and crossings´. In Marsh, J. Robinson, M. and Willett, R. (Eds.) Play, Creativity and Digital Cultures (pp. 108 – 124). London, England: Routledge.

Davies, J. (2009) Keeping connected: textual selves, textual cohesion and online support networks. In Thomas, N. (Ed).Children, Politics and Communication (pp. 167 – 184). London, England: Palgrave

Davies, J. (2008). Talking ‘bout a (digital) Revolution: New Literacies, New Practices for New Times. Journal of Education and Development in the Caribbean 10(1).

Davies, J. (2008). Pay and Display: The Digital Literacies of Online Shoppers. In Lankshear, C. and Knobel, M. (Eds.). Digital Literacies: Concepts, Policies and Practices. New York, NY: Peter Lang.

Davies, J (2007). Display; Identity and the Everyday: self-presentation through digital image sharing. In: Discourse, Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education. 28(4).

Davies, J. & Pahl, K. (2007). Blending Voices, Blending learning: Lessons in pedagogy from a post-16 classroom. In Literacy and Social Inclusion: Closing The Gap. In Bearne, E. and Marsh, J. (Eds.). London, England: Trentham.

Davies, J. & Merchant, G. (2007). Looking from the inside out: academic blogging as new literacy. In Lankshear, C. and Knobel, M. (Eds.). A New Literacies Sampler. New York, NY: Peter Lang.

Davies, J. (2006). Affinities and beyond!! Developing ways of seeing in online spaces. In e-learning- Special Issue: Digital Interfaces, 3(2), 217-234.

Davies, J. (2006b). “Hello newbie! **big welcome hugs** hope u like it here as much as i do! ” An exploration of teenagers´ informal on-line learning. In Buckingham, D. and Willett, R. (Eds.) Digital Generations (pp. 211 – 228). New York, NY: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Davies, J. (2005). Nomads and Tribes: On line meaning-making and the Development of New Literacies. In J. Marsh and E. Millard (Eds.) (pp 160 – 175). Popular Literacies, Childhood and Schooling. London, England: Routledge/Falmer.

Davies, J. (2004). Negotiating Femininities On-Line. In Gender and Education, 16(1) 35 – 49.

Davies, J. (2004). “We Know What We’re Talking About, Don’t We?” An Examination of Girls’ Classroom-Based Learning Allegiances. Linguistics And Education: An International Research Journal15(3), 199-216.

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