Professor in Political Science and Computer and Information Science

David Lazer

"Socially-mediated visibility in authoritarianism"

Nov 6 2017 - 4:00pm to 6:00pm
"Socially-mediated visibility in authoritarianism"
340 Curry Student Center

Increased visibility is arguably the most significant affordance of social media and a large body of scholarly work has sought to understand how individuals deal with the effects increased visibility in terms of concern for privacy as well as the ability to broadcast to wide audiences. Much of this work explores how pre-social media norms are applied, for better or worse, to socially mediated spaces. The presented projects also seek to understand how pre-existing norms are enacted in social media, especially with regard to visiblity, but in a different context. This project is set in a society - Azerbaijan - in which a norm of interpersonal as well as governmental surveillance has not only existed for a long time, but "permeates life" and is a part of "the dominant organizing value in society."

Moreover, surveillance is part of enforcing behavioral codes, for which non-compliance results in severe punishment. The increased visibility afforded by social media has amplified and economized both interpersonal and government surveillance, making the risk associated with behavioral code non-compliance and likelihood of online behavior. Dr. Pearce will present 2 studies on visibility in an authoritarian environment: 1) Through an Impression Management famework, how honor is performed online and 2) How social media complicates the concealment/disclosure of stigmatized political identities.