Vernacular creativity and new media

Burgess, Jean Elizabeth (2007) Vernacular creativity and new media. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


This study takes a cultural studies approach to investigating the ways in which the articulation of vernacular creativity with digital technologies and the networked cultural public sphere might constitute sites of cultural citizenship. In the thesis, the concept of 'vernacular creativity' describes the everyday practices of material and symbolic creativity, such as storytelling and photography, that both predate digital culture and are remediated by it in particular ways. The first part of thesis, covering Chapters 2 and 3, develops a theoretical framework and cultural history of vernacular creativity in new media contexts. Chapter 2 introduces the idea of vernacular creativity and connects it to cultural studies approaches to participatory media and cultural citizenship. Chapter 3 theorises and historicises the relationships among vernacular creativity, technological innovation and new media literacy, drawing on social constructionist approaches to technology, and discussing concrete examples. The first of these examples is the mass amateurisation of photography in the first half of the twentieth century, as represented by the monopoly of popular photography by Kodak in the United States and beyond. The second is the domestication of personal computing in the second half of the twentieth century, culminating in a discussion of the Apple brand and the construction of an ideal 'creative consumer'. The second part of the thesis, covering Chapters 4 and 5, is devoted to the investigation of two major case studies drawn from contemporary new media contexts. The first of these case studies is the photosharing network, and the second is the Digital Storytelling movement, structured around collaborative offline workshops in which participants create short multimedia works based on their biographies and personal images. These case studies are used to explore the ways vernacular creativity is being remediated in contemporary new media contexts, the socio-technical shaping of participation in digital culture, and the implications for cultural citizenship. In Chapter 6, the thesis concludes by suggesting some further implications of the research findings for cultural and media studies approaches to the relations of cultural production and the politics of popular culture.

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ID Code: 16378
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Hartley, John & Tacchi, Jo
Additional Information: Recipient of 2007 Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Award
Keywords: vernacular creativity, new media, technology, cultural studies, cultural citizenship, literacy, photography, personal computing, Flickr, digital storytelling, Web 2.0, ODTA
Department: Faculty of Creative Industries
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 03 Dec 2008 04:02
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2013 06:08

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