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Vol. 1 No. 1 (2019): Conceptualising Digital Social Research

Tacit Labours of Digital Social Research as an Early Career Researcher

August 30, 2019


Consider this essay as two brief confessions on the pressures of conducting ‘digital social research’ as an Early Career Researcher. Specifically, the confessions call out two emergent norms in academia: that early career digital social researchers ought to be visible and trackable online, and that we ought to focus on novel and innovative phenomena pioneered by ‘the youngs’. These two expectations have insidiously been integrated into early career digital social researchers’ repertoires of ‘tacit labours’ – “a collective practice of work that is understated and under-visibilized from being so thoroughly rehearsed that it appears as effortless and subconscious.” (Abidin 2016, p. 10) – in that it is assumed that being ‘Extremely Online’ and ‘Young <tm>’ are generational literacies ‘naturally’ hardwired into our systems.