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Communities, Utopias and Tools. A Cultural, Multimodal and Technological Exploration of Facebook

Moschini, Ilaria; (2020) Communities, Utopias and Tools. A Cultural, Multimodal and Technological Exploration of Facebook. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis is concerned with the study of the digital social media platform Facebook by means of a critical multimodal approach. The study presents an analytical framework which seeks to add a more nuanced cultural dimension to the field of Critical Multimodal Discourse Analysis (CDMA), while also incorporating within it an analytical layer that takes into account the technological structure of digital artifacts. The thesis begins from the Foucauldian and Cultural Theory conceptualization of criticality as “discursive mapping” and envisions the combination of Critical Multimodal Discourse Analysis with (American) Cultural Studies and Platform Studies for the analysis of digital discourse. It then provides a demonstration across three empirical chapters of the suggested analytical model through an investigation of Facebook. The first empirical chapter examines the worldview which is multimodally encoded in Facebook’s public narration. The second empirical chapter investigates the ideational context that frames Facebook’s worldview. This chapter selects and studies a diachronic corpus of texts that represent significant milestones in the creation of the cultural construct that seems to be the core of Facebook’s self-narration and its critique in relation to the development of social media and to the “platformization” of the web. The critical analysis of the social media is further expanded in the third empirical chapter which explores the self-representation that Facebook gives to a global generalist audience as regards the description of its business model and compares such a narration to the study of the architecture of the social media as a platform in technical documentation in order to reveal any discrepancies, deliberate omissions or inaccuracies present in it. The thesis concludes by reviewing the findings, the implications and limitations of the study and offers a set of recommendations for future developments of the line of research.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Communities, Utopias and Tools. A Cultural, Multimodal and Technological Exploration of Facebook
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2020. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
Keywords: Multimodality, Social Media, Critical Discourse Analysis, US Culture, Applied Linguistics
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Culture, Communication and Media
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10095778
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