I presented this paper at ICWSM this week. It got a great response– I enjoyed the feedback from computer scientists on my qualitative, critical paper about fashion, of all things!
I had chosen to exclude it from the conference proceedings because it’s been sent to a journal [computer scientists publish through conferences, social scientists through journal articles], but I’ve gotten many requests and decided to put it online:
Marwick, A. (2013). ““They’re Really Profound Women, They’re Entrepreneurs”: Conceptions of Authenticity in Fashion Blogging.” Presented at the 7th International AIII Conference on Weblogs and Social Media (ICWSM), July 8, Cambridge, MA.
Fashion blogging is an international subculture comprised primarily of young women who post photographs of themselves and their possessions, comment on clothes and fashion, and use self-branding techniques to promote themselves and their blogs. Drawing from ethnographic interviews with 30 participants, I examine how fashion bloggers use “authenticity” as an organizing principle to differentiate “good” fashion blogs from “bad” fashion blogs. “Authenticity” is positioned as an invaluable, yet ineffable quality which differentiates fashion blogging from its mainstream media counterparts, like fashion magazines and runway shows, in two ways. First, authenticity describes a set of affective relations between bloggers and their readers. Second, despite previous studies which have positioned “authenticity” as antithetical to branding and commodification, fashion bloggers see authenticity and commercial interests as potentially, but not necessarily, consistent. This study adds to the growing literature on online self-presentation techniques which finds that the entrepreneurial self-concept encouraged in professional blogging communities is intimately linked to a larger shift in cultural labor to capitalist business practice.
Enjoy! Please email me with questions or comments. Or comment here!