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Researching young women’s self-representation on Instagram : a critical reflection on the challenges and possibilities of a multi-methodological feminist approach

(2019)
Author
Organization
Abstract
Instagram has quickly risen in popularity in recent years (Constine 2018), becoming an essential part of contemporary visual culture and a popular topic for scholarly engagement (e.g. Abidin 2016; Manovich 2017). This paper aims to reflect on the challenges of researching women’s self-representations on Instagram using a multi-methodological approach that is grounded in a feminist media studies perspective (Van Zoonen 1994). Focusing on the tensions created by this approach, this paper questions the possibilities and limitations of both the methodologies and the underlying feminist analytical framework (Avishai, Gerber & Randles 2013), complexifying our engagement with young women's self-representation practices. Primarily relying on a qualitative approach, our research focused on a relatively small theoretical sample of 'ordinary' Instagram users (i.e. not celebrities or Insta-famous users). A close reading (Ruiz de Castilla, 2017) was conducted, critically engaging with the data and writing analytic memos with emerging interpretations (Maxwell & Chmiel 2014). As feminist media studies carry an underlying political dimension (Gallagher 2003), these critical interpretations are inevitably marked by the researchers' theoretical and political concerns (Risman 1993). These concerns directed our attention towards particular aspects of the data, focusing on the political aspect of everyday self-representation practices. Concurrently, a qualitative textual analysis (Lindlof & Taylor 2011) was conducted, systematically applying a set of codes, both to the photographs and accompanying captions and comments. This coding allowed a more quantitative overview of the data. This revealed overarching trends and unexpected connections between themes, but it also exposed the discrepancies between the frequencies of the occurrence of certain self-representation strategies and its qualitative emphasis. This multi-method approach brings forward different levels of analysis and interpretation (Scott 2010:226), emphasising the multi-layered character of young women's self-representation practices on Instagram.
Keywords
Instagram, self-representation, methodological reflexion

Citation

Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:

MLA
Pereira Caldeira, Ana Sofia, and Sofie Van Bauwel. “Researching Young Women’s Self-representation on Instagram : a Critical Reflection on the Challenges and Possibilities of a Multi-methodological Feminist Approach.” 2019. Print.
APA
Pereira Caldeira, A. S., & Van Bauwel, S. (2019). Researching young women’s self-representation on Instagram : a critical reflection on the challenges and possibilities of a multi-methodological feminist approach. Presented at the DIGITAL⇌CULTURE 2019.
Chicago author-date
Pereira Caldeira, Ana Sofia, and Sofie Van Bauwel. 2019. “Researching Young Women’s Self-representation on Instagram : a Critical Reflection on the Challenges and Possibilities of a Multi-methodological Feminist Approach.” In .
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Pereira Caldeira, Ana Sofia, and Sofie Van Bauwel. 2019. “Researching Young Women’s Self-representation on Instagram : a Critical Reflection on the Challenges and Possibilities of a Multi-methodological Feminist Approach.” In .
Vancouver
1.
Pereira Caldeira AS, Van Bauwel S. Researching young women’s self-representation on Instagram : a critical reflection on the challenges and possibilities of a multi-methodological feminist approach. 2019.
IEEE
[1]
A. S. Pereira Caldeira and S. Van Bauwel, “Researching young women’s self-representation on Instagram : a critical reflection on the challenges and possibilities of a multi-methodological feminist approach,” presented at the DIGITAL⇌CULTURE 2019, Nottingham, 2019.
@inproceedings{8615871,
  abstract     = {Instagram has quickly risen in popularity in recent years (Constine 2018), becoming an essential part of contemporary visual culture and a popular topic for scholarly engagement (e.g. Abidin 2016; Manovich 2017). This paper aims to reflect on the challenges of researching women’s self-representations on Instagram using a multi-methodological approach that is grounded in a feminist media studies perspective (Van Zoonen 1994). Focusing on the tensions created by this approach, this paper questions the possibilities and limitations of both the methodologies and the underlying feminist analytical framework (Avishai, Gerber & Randles 2013), complexifying our engagement with young women's self-representation practices.
Primarily relying on a qualitative approach, our research focused on a relatively small theoretical sample of 'ordinary' Instagram users (i.e. not celebrities or Insta-famous users). A close reading (Ruiz de Castilla, 2017) was conducted, critically engaging with the data and writing analytic memos with emerging interpretations (Maxwell & Chmiel 2014). As feminist media studies carry an underlying political dimension (Gallagher 2003), these critical interpretations are inevitably marked by the researchers' theoretical and political concerns (Risman 1993). These concerns directed our attention towards particular aspects of the data, focusing on the political aspect of everyday self-representation practices.
Concurrently, a qualitative textual analysis (Lindlof & Taylor 2011) was conducted, systematically applying a set of codes, both to the photographs and accompanying captions and comments. This coding allowed a more quantitative overview of the data. This revealed overarching trends and unexpected connections between themes, but it also exposed the discrepancies between the frequencies of the occurrence of certain self-representation strategies and its qualitative emphasis.
This multi-method approach brings forward different levels of analysis and interpretation (Scott 2010:226), emphasising the multi-layered character of young women's self-representation practices on Instagram.},
  author       = {Pereira Caldeira, Ana Sofia and Van Bauwel, Sofie},
  keywords     = {Instagram,self-representation,methodological reflexion},
  language     = {eng},
  location     = {Nottingham},
  title        = {Researching young women’s self-representation on Instagram : a critical reflection on the challenges and possibilities of a multi-methodological feminist approach},
  year         = {2019},
}