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Anthropology of Media
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Monetising the Dividual Self
The Emergence of the Lifestyle Blog and Influencers in Malaysia
236 pages, 26 illus., bibliog., index
ISBN 978-1-78920-118-5 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (January 2019)
eISBN 978-1-78920-119-2 eBook
“Monetising the Dividual Self offers a rich conceptual and methodological lens through which to view blogs in their cultural, social, and technological significances. The use of Deleuze and Guattari’s assemblage to link ANT with an analysis of affordances permitted Hopkins to move beyond previous literature that was limited to positing the blog as an aesthetic assemblage and expand this notion to include the larger network of people and machines within specific historical, cultural, and geographic contexts…an insightful book that will be of interest to those across the disciplines, from media studies and communication, to philosophy, anthropology, sociology and science and technology studies.” • International Journal of Communication
“A valuable contribution to the field of New Media Studies… It provides rich and first-hand ethnographic insights into a transitory phase of the blog genre – from a point in time where we can see how other social media platforms and genres (e.g. Facebook, YouTube, Instagram) have built upon and further transformed practices of lifestyle blogging.” • Jan-Hinrik Schmidt, Hans-Bredow-Institute for Media Research, Hamburg
Combining theoretical and empirical discussions with shorter “thick description” case studies, this book offers an anthropological exploration of the emergence in Malaysia of lifestyle bloggers – precursors to current social media “microcelebrities” and “influencers.” It tracks the transformation of personal blogs, which attracted readers with spontaneous and authentic accounts of everyday life, into lifestyle blogs that generate income through advertising and foreground consumerist lifestyles. It argues that lifestyle blogs are dialogically constituted between the blogger, the readers, and the blog itself, and challenges the assumption of a unitary self by proposing that lifestyle blogs can best be understood in terms of the “dividual self.”
Julian Hopkins is Adjunct Senior Research Fellow at the School of Arts & Social Sciences, Monash University Malaysia. He has been researching the social and cultural implications of the internet and social media since the turn of the century, using a combination of ethnographic and sociological research methods.