Peer Reviewed Academic Publications
Our research projects lead to publications in high-ranking academic journals. We do this to ensure that current and future decision-makers might take a more critical view of persistent social problems arising from new technologies by challenging longstanding conventional academic, civil, political and industry narratives that perpetuate social inequalities.
Keen, C. and France, A. (2022) Capital Gains in a Digital Society: exploring how familial habitus shape digital dispositions and outcomes in three families from Aotearoa, New Zealand. New Media & society. Sep2022, p1. DOI: 10.1177/14614448221122228.
Despite delays with Covid, this article was published in just under 8 months from submission! This is because it makes a critical contribution to contemporary digital divides debates. It is now available online.
Persistent concerns about the digital divide are typically framed as a deficit of internet access (first level divide), or skills and usage gaps (second level divide). However, despite significant advances in access and skill across populations in Western nations, not all benefit equally from internet use, leading scholars to theorise a third level digital divide which explores the social determinants critical to capitalizing on and benefiting from internet use. Presenting analysis for three families, this work highlights the importance the family in shaping children’s digital disposition and outcomes. Applying Bourdieu’s Theory of Practice concepts, we illustrate how parental habitus and capital inform children’s responses to the digital world, shaping diverse forms of ‘digital capital’ which may result in ‘capital gains’ for some, and less capital benefits for others. Findings suggest that the forms of digital capital that are valued by families are closely tied to class positioning and cultural background.
Plester, B., Sayers, J., & Keen, C. (2022). Health and wellness but at what cost? Technology media justifications for wearable technology use in organizations. Organization, 13505084221115841.
Wearable technology (WT) use in organizations is accelerating despite ethical concerns about personal privacy, data security, and stress from increased surveillance. Technology media, a key producer of meanings about WT, gives some attention to these issues but they also routinely promote WT as if they are a panacea for employee wellness. We critically analyze 150 media articles to understand how they justify the adoption of WT into organizational life. We contribute by extending previous work on surveillance technology to show how and why WT media discourses use neo-liberal justifications to justify WT implementation. We explore implications including competing health and wellness discourses and make suggestions for further research.
Keen, C. (2020, September 24). Apathy, convenience or irrelevance? Identifying conceptual barriers to safeguarding children’s data privacy. New Media & Society. https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444820960068
Published in just 4 months! This article provides much needed critical input into debates about protecting children's data privacy .
This paper captures the results of our research in 2019 into Children's data privacy. It explores how parents and teenagers conceptualise corporations and their surveillance of their internet activities. It provides a fresh approach to studies around online privacy which had to date been focused on teenagers' practices within social media sites, by examining how parents and teenagers understand and conceptualise privacy in the digital context. This paper challenges existing neoliberal policy frameworks that presume educators and parents, and even teenagers themselves, will through education develop the motivation to protect children's data privacy. This research found that their notions of privacy risk and harm remain embedded within the social rather than technological contexts, prohibiting concerns about corporate surveillance. Read a summary.
Keen, C. Kramer, R. & France, A. (2020 ). The pornographic state: The changing nature of state regulation in addressing illegal and harmful online content. Media, Culture and Society.
It explores the failure of democratic nation-states to regulate corporate internet intermediaries who essentially provide access to websites containing illegal and legal pornographic content. Existing literature credits this apparent diminishing regulatory role of states to neoliberalism. Drawing on Wacquant’s theory of ‘neoliberal state-crafting’ (2010) can explain the paucity of state media regulation while also accounting for when states do engage in alternative forms of regulation. Through a thematic analysis of key documents, media, and interviews with ‘elite’ stakeholders in Australia and the UK, this research shows that private actors are generally exempt from state regulation, while individuals are simultaneously subject to punitive mechanisms for problematic and illegal uses of the internet. The larger theoretical point that is being advanced in this paper is that a critical framework in which neoliberal logics are centred might be important for making sense of internet regulation in numerous contexts. And, there is also a broader issue concerning whether the logics of neoliberalism can address any other number of communication and content issues engendered by a global, internet era.
Keen, C., France, A., & Kramer, R. (2019). Exposing children to pornography: How competing constructions of childhood shape state regulation of online pornographic material. New Media & Society. https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444819872539
What policy makers and non profits should read when negotiating policies address children and pornography!
This paper discusses policy debates in the UK and Australia concerning the regulation of pornographic content on the internet as it relates to children. Through a thematic analysis of qualitative interviews with key stakeholders at the negotiation table, we find that rather than positivist notions of the ‘developing’, ‘vulnerable’ and ‘asexual’ child dominating policy discourse, post-modern representations of the ‘savvy’ and ‘agentic’ child have come to dominate policy culture and outcomes. In this scenario, the regulatory role of states in providing media protection is diminished, while neoliberal forms of governance that emphasise the responsibility of individuals, including parents and children, to manage online media risk have come to dominate the emerging policy landscape.