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(Academic) Micro-
Celebrity + Tenure Track
Tressie McMillan Cottom, Ph.D.
@tressiemcphd
www.tressiemc.com
#digitalsociolgo...
Why Me?
A sociologist studying the
infinitely creative new ways that
the capital transforms inequalities.
Political Econom...
19000 Twitter Followers
14, 608 Blog Followers
875 Facebook Followers
367 Google Scholar
Citations
One White House Visit
T...
Go Be Popular
Changes in the political economy of knowledge production + work =
more incentives to be public
Micro-Celebrity + Tenure Track
“Microcelebrity refers to the affective capital engendered and commodified by
various socia...
Micro-Celebrity + Tenure Track =
Academic Celebrity
“Microcelebrity is the economics of attention in which academics are b...
Micro-Celebrity
+ Market Imperative
+ Shifts Risk of Institutional Status Maintenance to Individuals
+ Liberatory only whe...
Micro-Celebrity
+ Market Imperative
+ Shifts Risk of Institutional Status Maintenance to Individuals
+ Liberatory only whe...
Mo Scale, Mo Problems
The more scale, the more publics and the
more salient a scholar’s master identity.
TRANSLATION: The ...
Mo Scale, Mo Problems + Tenure Inequalities
the proportion of African-Americans in non-tenure-track positions (15.2 percen...
Institutional Responsibility
Institutions incentivize publicness and must provide institutional protections
against risks ...
Ways Forward
+ ASA Social Media Toolkit
+ Sociologists for Women in Society Academic Justice Committee
+ FemTechNet
Be Popular to Do Good but Be
Safe.
Berman, Elizabeth Popp. Creating the market university: How academic science
became an economic engine. Princeton Universi...
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Microcelebrity and The Tenure Track

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Presentation: "Academic Microcelebrity and Tenure Track" at the Digital Sociology Mini-Conference, Eastern Sociological Society. March 19, 2016. Boston, MA USA.

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Microcelebrity and The Tenure Track

  1. 1. (Academic) Micro- Celebrity + Tenure Track Tressie McMillan Cottom, Ph.D. @tressiemcphd www.tressiemc.com #digitalsociolgoy #ess2016
  2. 2. Why Me? A sociologist studying the infinitely creative new ways that the capital transforms inequalities. Political Economy Higher education Work Technology Intersecting Inequalities Emerging Inequalities #LowerEd #DigitalSociologies
  3. 3. 19000 Twitter Followers 14, 608 Blog Followers 875 Facebook Followers 367 Google Scholar Citations One White House Visit Three Books Advise One Presidential Campaign
  4. 4. Go Be Popular Changes in the political economy of knowledge production + work = more incentives to be public
  5. 5. Micro-Celebrity + Tenure Track “Microcelebrity refers to the affective capital engendered and commodified by various social and new media platforms where identity and brand are merged and measured in likes, shares, follows, comments and so on.” (McMillan Cottom 2015)
  6. 6. Micro-Celebrity + Tenure Track = Academic Celebrity “Microcelebrity is the economics of attention in which academics are being encouraged, mostly through normative pressure, to brand their academic knowledge for mass consumption...in the neo-liberal “public” square of private media.” (McMillan Cottom 2015)
  7. 7. Micro-Celebrity + Market Imperative + Shifts Risk of Institutional Status Maintenance to Individuals + Liberatory only when used with other strategies + Incentives and risks are different for different kind of scholars
  8. 8. Micro-Celebrity + Market Imperative + Shifts Risk of Institutional Status Maintenance to Individuals + Liberatory only when used with other strategies + Incentives and risks are different for different kind of scholars
  9. 9. Mo Scale, Mo Problems The more scale, the more publics and the more salient a scholar’s master identity. TRANSLATION: The more people who read me the less I am a sociologist and the more I am black woman, with all associated risks and attenuated rewards. Steven Salaita Zenitra Robinson Saida Grundy Anthea Butler Sara Goldrick Rab
  10. 10. Mo Scale, Mo Problems + Tenure Inequalities the proportion of African-Americans in non-tenure-track positions (15.2 percent) is more than 50 percent greater than that of whites (9.6 percent). (AAUW) “43 percent increase in the award of PhDs to blacks from about 7000 in 1999-2000 to slightly over 10,000 in 2009-2010. Yet, the average increase in black faculty appointments at TWIs during the same period was about 1.3 percent” (NCES 2014)
  11. 11. Institutional Responsibility Institutions incentivize publicness and must provide institutional protections against risks of being public: + Technical and administrative support + What does your professional association do for YOU? + Legal counsel in rapidly shifting legal domain (copyright, harassment etc.) + Negotiate at hire and promotion + Quantify to translate affective labor for institutional contexts
  12. 12. Ways Forward + ASA Social Media Toolkit + Sociologists for Women in Society Academic Justice Committee + FemTechNet
  13. 13. Be Popular to Do Good but Be Safe.
  14. 14. Berman, Elizabeth Popp. Creating the market university: How academic science became an economic engine. Princeton University Press, 2011. Butler, Anthea. “Why ‘Sam Bacile’ deserves arrest.” (September 13, 2012) USA Today. Retrieved: http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/opinion/story/2012-09- 12/Sam-Bacile-Anthea-Butler/57769732/1 Carrigan, Mark. 2013. “What is Digital Sociology?” Retrieved from: http://markcarrigan.net/2013/01/12/what-is-digital-sociology/ Davis, Jenny L., and Nathan Jurgenson. “Context Collapse: theorizing context collusions and collisions.” Information, Communication & Society 14, no. 4 (2014): 476-485. Edwards, Willie J., Ingrid Bennett, Norm White, and Frank Pezzella. “Who’s in the pipeline? A survey of African-Americans in doctoral programs in criminology and criminal justice.” Journal of Criminal Justice Education 9, No. 1 (1998): 1- 18. Ellison, Julie, and Timothy K. Eatman. “Scholarship in public: Knowledge creation and tenure policy in the engaged university.” Retrieved from: http://imaginingamerica.org/fg-item/scholarship-in-public-knowledge- creation-and-tenure-policy-in-the-engaged-university/. Lee, D.N. 2013. “Responding to No name Life Science Blog Editor who called me out of my name” in Scientific American. October 11, 2013. Retrieved from: http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/urban- scientist/2013/10/11/give-trouble-to-others-but-not-me/ Matthew, Patricia. “Teaching While Black.” The New Inquiry. February 18, 2014. Retrieved from: http://thenewinquiry.com/essays/teaching-while- black/ McMillan Cottom, Tressie. "Who Do You Think You Are?”: When Marginality Meets Academic Microcelebrity." Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media, and Technology 7 (2015). Marwick, Alice E. “I tweet honestly, I tweet passionately: Twitter users, context collapse, and the imagined audience.” New Media & Society 13, no. 1 (2011): 114-133.

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