Junck Colloquium with Brook Erin Duffy: Gender and Aspirational Labor in the Social Media Economy

Brooke Erin Duffy, assistant professor in the School of Media and Communication at Temple University, will discuss her forthcoming book, “Gender and Aspirational Labor in the Social Media Economy,” on Wednesday, March 2, at 10 a.m. in the Halls of Fame room in Carroll Hall.

Duffy’s talk is part of the Mary Junck Research Colloquium Series at the UNC School of Media and Journalism.

Her research interests include digital and social media; creative labor/media work; feminist media studies; and promotional culture. She is the author of “Remake, Remodel: Women’s Magazines in the Digital Age” (University of Illinois Press, 2013). Her work has been published in such journals as “Critical Studies in Media Communication;” “Communication, Culture & Critique;” “International Journal of Cultural Studies;” “Feminist Media Studies;” and “Social Media + Society,” among others. She holds a Ph.D. from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania.

“Against the backdrop of profound transformations in the technologies, economies and politics of creative labor, legions of enterprising young women are flocking to social media platforms with aspirations of capitalizing on their passion projects,” said Duffy. “For these digitally networked content creators, fashion blogs, YouTube and Instagram represent prospective paths to successful and rewarding careers. But to what extent do their creative investments pay off?”

Duffy draws upon in-depth interviews and fieldwork reports to show how these female digital-content producers engage in “aspirational labor,” a highly gendered, forward-looking, entrepreneurial mode of productivity. Aspirational laborers pursue creative activities that hold the promise of social and economic capital; yet the reward system for these aspirants is vastly uneven.