30 May 2011

Just a note that our book proposal for a volume edited by David Herbert and Marie Gillespie called 'Social Media, Religion and Spirituality' has been accepted to De Gruyters' (Berlin) "Religion and Society" Series (co-edited by K. von Stuckard, W. Sullivan and G. Benavides). I will be contributing a chapter called 'Truck stops and fashion shows: A case study of the discursive construction of Evangelical Christian group identity on YouTube', a second bit of writing I did based on my probation review report (upgrade viva) last year.

The first article, focusing on my use of mixed methods, will be coming out in Fieldwork and Religion 6/1 later this year. The abstract for the book chapter follows. Now to get it all together by the deadline...
 In the last several years, use of the popular video-sharing site YouTube has grown enormously. On YouTube, Evangelical Christian video bloggers (vloggers) frequently discuss topics of religion amongst themselves and with other users from different religious backgrounds, but given the diverse viewpoints from which users come, developing clear distinctions between oneself and others who call themselves ‘Christians’, but with whom one may not particularly agree on controversial theological questions, is a difficult issue. As YouTube does not feature any ‘group’ function as on other social networking sites, users must associate or disassociate with one another only through their talk. My previous research has investigated similar issues using longitudinal observation linked with metaphor-led discourse analysis (Cameron & Maslen, 2010) to show how misunderstanding between atheists and Christians emerges (Pihlaja, 2010, forthcoming). This chapter will extend analysis of YouTube discourse by investigating the emergence of categories of Evangelical Christian users on YouTube in one video. Drawing on a longitudinal observation of a group of users over two years, analysis will focus one video in which a user (Yokeup) aligns and distances himself with and from other users, and how users react in the video comments section to the categories Yokeup employs. Analysis will show that Yokeup employs traditional denominations as well as metaphorical and ad hoc categorisations of himself and others to position himself, often drawing on the Biblical text and his own creative interpretation of the text to accomplish this.