Scholarly Research

In broad terms my scholarly research looks at the design, implementation, use, and regulation of information and communication technologies (ICTs) for the public good (or commons). I often frame this terrain as "issues of access and issues of control," examining the tensions between digital and networked media as a force for positive change, empowerment, and emancipation, and as a force for enclosure, discrimination, and repression.

I am currently researching social media and Internet governance, democratic culture, human rights, values-based design, and information ethics. With several articles and book projects in various stages of development, my research agenda advances a coherent and mutually reinforcing thematic cluster that analyzes social and political implications of emerging forms of social media and ICTs for upholding and/or undermining democratic values, human rights, and ethics.

In order to achieve accuracy and precision in my analysis, I recognize empirical and epistemological nuances among specific kinds of new media and digital technology, especially the distinctions between mobile devices and applications, and social media sites and services. I also maintain a stratified view of the Internet recognizing separate but related levels, layers, and tiers of Internet infrastructure, identifying corresponding actors, stakeholders and interests at each level.

Methodological approaches and frameworks that I often employ include political economy, critical theory, and linguistic analysis. With formative training in cultural, media, and cinema studies, I also utilize interpretive methods of content analysis, semiotics, formal and theoretical approaches that draw productive parallels between old and new media.

General topics of concern include:

  • Citizen Journalism and Social Reporting
  • Convergence Culture
  • Creative Commons and Free Culture
  • Global Internet Governance
  • Information and Communication Rights
  • Information Ethics
  • Instructional Technology and Design
  • Intellectual Property Rights
  • Internet Advertising and Public Relations
  • Internet Law and Policy
  • Networked Mobilities, Mobile Culture and Devices
  • New Media and Information Literacies
  • Political Economy of ICT Industries and Digital Culture
  • Representational Practices in New Media (race, class, gender, and sexuality)
  • Social Media (SNS, wikis, blogs, micro-blogs, user content sites)
  • Surveillance and Information Privacy
  • Values Sensitive Design
  • Virtual Environments

Ph.D. Dissertation

My PhD dissertation, Radical Culture in the Digital Age: A Study of Critical New Media Practice, examines the critical practices of various forms of online cultural activity, including indymedia,, hactivism, p2p, and Free and Open Source software. These practices demonstrate ways that people and groups leverage offline/online strategies and tactics for civil disobedience, issue-based advocacy, and free and open information exchange. This work is being revised for publication, linking older and newer practices together, assessing future directions for politically engaged online cultural formations.

Current Research Projects

  • Radical Culture in the Digital Age - book length study that examines online activism, social movements, and social change. Of special focus is an analysis of social media as they compare to earlier forms of social movement media.
  • a collaborative project that studies the implications of anti-gay hate speech on online social networks and imageboards, while also situating it among other forms of grief culture (with Lisa Wagner) for "Digital/Media, Race, Affect and Labor" Bowling Green, Ohio (April 2011).
  • an article that examines the ethics of online anonymity for CEPE (Computer Ethics Philosophical Enquiry) conference Crossing Boundaries: Ethics in Interdisciplinary and Intercultural Relations, Milwaukee, WI (May 2011).
  • a presentation that examines Wikileaks, whistle-blowing, and online journalism for the Association of Internet Researchers' Annual Conference "Performance and Participation" Seattle, WA (October 2011).