You want a piece of me: Britney Spears as a case study on the prominence of hegemonic tales and subversive stories in online media
Keywords:computational social science, Twitter Communication, Wikipedia, Internet news
In this work, we seek to understand how hegemonic and subversive (counter-hegemonic) stories about gender and control are constructed across and between media platforms. To do so, we examine how American singer-songwriter Britney Spears is framed in the stories that tabloid journalists, Wikipedia editors, and Twitter users tell about her online. Using Spears’ portrayal as a case study, we hope to better understand how subversive stories come to prominence online, and how platform affordances and incentives can encourage or discourage their emergence. We draw upon previous work on the portrayal of women and mental illness in news and tabloid media, as well as work on narrative formation on Wikipedia. Using computational methods and critical readings of key articles, we find that Twitter, as a source of the #FreeBritney hashtag, continually supports counter-hegemonic narratives during periods of visibility, while both the tabloid publication TMZ and Wikipedia may lag in their adoption of the same.
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