I was inspired yesterday by Sasha Costanza-Chock and Steve Anderson to “release early and often” (following the software dev adage), so here is my current plan for quals. These areas are still quite broad, and will be refined over the coming months. My interests revolve around meso-level social practices online such as negotiation of identity, creation and reinforcement of culture(yes, I said it)/norms, in/out grouping (e.g. stigmatization) and collaborative roles in groups and communities. My interests span both online and offline contexts, depending on the particulars of the questions I’m asking. Two meso-level formations I’m particularly interested in at the moment are the family and an area I’m calling “new collectives” which focus on informal online groups for knowledge-sharing and self-expression. There’s no area specifically for methodologies, because I’m fairly methodologically-agnostic, and employ focus groups, surveys, secondary data analysis, and content analysis.

Potential quals areas, Ph.D in Communication
Target: spring 2012

1. Social Identity

  • Social identity construction (Mead, Goffman, Burke, Simmel, Turkle, etc.)
  • History (modern culture of the self)
  • Self-presentation (queer theory, online)
  • Stigmatization and out-grouping
  • Self-categorization

2. Families

  • Family arrangements
  • Family communication
  • History of family change
  • Fatherhood and masculinity

3. Informal groups, communities, & collectives

  • New collectives (knowledge sharing, expressive)
  • Group culture
  • Offline communities (neighborhoods, physically-proximate)
  • Imagined and mobile communities

4. Technology and Society

  • Adoption
  • Social shaping
  • History of the Internet
  • Social capital

Comments are welcome here or on Twitter (@aschrock).

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