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Tuesday, July 12 • 14:46 - 16:15
(Re-)Appropriating Instagram for Social Research on Obesity

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Location: PSH (Professor Stuart Hall Building) - 326, 
Goldsmiths, University of London, Building 2
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  • Anders Kristian Munk, Aalborg University Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Mette Simonsen Abildgaard, Aalborg University Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Morten Krogh Petersen, Aalborg University Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Andreas Birkbak, Aalborg University Copenhagen, Denmark

This paper presents three ways of appropriating Instagram for social research through the case of obesity. We draw on the notion obesogenic environment, in which obesity is understood as related to a wide range of cultural, social and physical factors. In a data sprint, digital methods and obesity researchers together explored a dataset of 82,449 instagrams tagged with location from the 5 most and the 5 least overweight local authorities in the UK. These geo-located instagrams from low and high-BMI areas were studied in three distinct approaches to the data; each drawing on interrelated conceptualizations about what is the obesogenic environment, Instagram and cultural analysis. The first appropriation values Instagram as a repository of images that can be coded and counted, while the second asks about the everyday practices of Instagram users. In a third appropriation, we view Instagram as an analytical tool in itself that produces a media-specific version of phenomena such as obesity. Following this third appropriation, we conclude that Instagram, to unfold its potential for social research, must be considered as more than a collection of user-tagged images, but as an analytical context in its own right. 

Tuesday July 12, 2016 14:46 - 16:15 UTC
PSH (Professor Stuart Hall Building) - 326 Goldsmiths University, Building 2

Attendees (7)