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  • 2019hurleyphd

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Social media and Gulf-Arab women’s empowerment: lessons in dynamics and distractions

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

Published
  • Zoe Hurley
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Publication date11/2019
Number of pages291
QualificationPhD
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Advisors
Award date5/12/2019
Publisher
  • Lancaster University
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

The social media applications Snapchat and Instagram have been relatively ignored by pedagogic scholarship and their functions considered as distractions or beyond the remits of institutional learning. This neglect of social media within learning is also a by-product of its visual and multimodal properties which are under-theorised aspects of scholarship yet represent a literal blind-spot to how gender inequalities are being reproduced. This study considers how female Gulf-Arab learners, studying communications and media degrees in the United Arab Emirates, integrate social media learning within their learning lives and the extent to which this is empowering or otherwise. The broadly two-step approach of the research engages participants in focus group discussions and designing prototypes for social media learning. An innovative and integrative conceptual framework called Edusemiotic Dynamics is developed and includes critical theory, gender capabilities and edusemiotics. This provides a framework for thinking about the triadic semeiotics of meaning making. From this synthesis, the novel methodology theorises social media across the merging boundaries of offline/online postdigital learning as material-dynamic, symbolic-action and conceptual-symbolic practices. Overall, it provides a critical perspective of the findings surrounding Gulf-Arab women’s technosemeiotic agencies and empowerment as entangled within the commercialised dynamics of social media.