Universiteit Leiden

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Lecture | Research Seminar

On Display: Instagram, the Self, and the City

Monday 6 December 2021
Pieter de la Court


Due to the Covid-19 measurements this seminar takes place online. Participation is open and free for all who are interested, but please register via the form below. After registration you will receive the zoom link a couple of hours prior to the event.

Go to the registration form

This talk will provide an advance glimpse of the book about Instagram that my co-author Justus Uitermark and I are currently finishing, which is under contract with Oxford University Press. Our book examines how a platform that is unfailingly polished and ruthlessly judgmental shapes us and our environments. The book builds on sociological theory and long-term qualitative inquiry, but augments the picture with computational analyses. In this way, it illuminates the mutual constitution of social structures and sensibilities. Through computational analysis we reveal the uneven structure of digital networks, while interviews and ethnographic vignettes provide an account of the desires and anxieties channeled and induced by Instagram and the broader ecosystem of social media. Over the book's seven chapters, we develop several arguments that challenge common assumptions about social media in order to advance public and scholarly debates on major social and cultural phenomena of our time.

About John Boy

John D. Boy is an assistant professor of sociology at Leiden University. He teaches urban studies, digital society, and qualitative and computational methods in the Institute of Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology, the interdisciplinary Urban Studies program, and the university's liberal arts institution, Leiden University College. He also advises undergraduate and masters theses.

He joined Leiden University after working as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Amsterdam for four years, where he also taught urban studies and sociology. He received his Ph.D. in sociology (with a certificate in women's studies) from the City University of New York in 2015. While a doctoral candidate, John taught at several CUNY colleges, and he also served as a policy analyst and an instructional technology fellow.

John's research focuses on urban, digital and religious spaces and investigates how they are made, how they intersect, and how they change. His areas of expertise include the sociology of religion, social and cultural theory, urban studies, and digital sociology.

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