Digital outsiders: Studies in mediated deviance

dc.contributor.advisorDownes, Daniel
dc.contributor.authorPhilpot, Duncan C.
dc.description.abstractThis dissertation explores the ways in which people, who post their criminal or deviant activities to social media, engage in what I term the re-presentation of self in media life; they use media to re-present themselves as the protagonists of their activities rather than the criminalized antagonists presented via mainstream press. The individuals and groups studied for this dissertation may face public scrutiny due to their mediation of the activities, but that mediation allows us to explore these groups and subcultures from the inside as well. I use Howard Becker’s Outsiders (1963) as a framework to explore: the process of becoming a deviant; the culture of a deviant group; and the process of moral entrepreneurship which demonstrates how deviance is the product of social enterprise. This is augmented by the idea that interactions in the social world today depends upon the material and mediated processes humans engage in to construct said social world (Couldry and Hepp, 2017). I explore these processes in four case studies about different media-related social phenomena: SWATings; 4chan cultural interactions; incel culture; and Creep Catchers. What is found is that the mediation of these activities often serves to solidify various social constructions of reality with likeminded individuals and groups, who in turn play a role in insulating participants from outsiders like the mainstream press who would label them as deviant and criminal. The re-presentations in social media serve to reinforce their ideologies, their values, and their conceptions of the world where they are the protagonists of the situation. The more populous the group, the more their social constructions of reality can be insulated from those of the public and the press. Further, this can result in the “crystallization” (Wohn and Bowe, 2014; 2016) of their conceptions where they perceive themselves as correct, as well as reinforcing their feelings that they were always outsiders looking in.
dc.description.copyright© Duncan Philpot, 2023
dc.format.extentxii, 320
dc.publisherUniversity of New Brunswick
dc.titleDigital outsiders: Studies in mediated deviance
dc.typedoctoral thesis
oaire.license.conditionother of New Brunswick


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