Genre and Identity in Social Media

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Abstract

This chapter examines how identities are constructed in social media, particularly, in the blog, and how a variety of genres are used by the blogger to shape a range of identities. The blog helps the blogger to establish a contract between her and her audiences, and, in turn, to reach out to specific communities of followers. The focus of my case study is a blog that has been written in Russian by the Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who has kept his blog on the LiveJournal website at http://navalny-en.livejournal.com/ since 2006. My analysis is informed by the understanding of genre as social action (Miller, 1984) and a discursive conception of identity (Butler, 1990; Fairclough, 2003; Hall, 1990, 1992, 1996). To examine the blog as a multimodal text, I apply Kress’s (2010) social semiotic approach to communication (p. 26). I also draw on van Leeuwen’s (2008) understanding of discourse as the recontextualization of social practice, which allows me to examine how identity is constantly recontextualized—or re-shaped through the use of genre—in response to changing contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGenre Studies around the Globe
Subtitle of host publicationBeyond the Three Traditions
Place of PublicationAlberta, Canada
PublisherTrafford
Pages275-298
Number of pages27
ISBN (Print)978-1-49076-631-7
Publication statusPublished - 14 Mar 2016

Keywords

  • genre
  • identity
  • social media
  • blog

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