Annette Markham

Remixing gender studies: Methodological provocations for creative innovation
Annette N. Markham, PhD
Associate Professor, Information Studies, Aarhus University
Guest Professor, Informatics, Umea University
In this century, we are witnessing a startling transformation in the way cultural
knowledge is produced and how meaning is negotiated. The digital era does not
mark the beginning of this sort of activity, by any means, yet it has facilitated a
remarkable acceleration toward de-privileging expert knowledge, decentralizing
culture production, and unhooking cultural units of information from their origins. One
way to think about this shift is through the lens of remix.
Although remix has been long associated with hip hop music forms, it has
become a general term referring to both the process and product of taking bits of
cultural material and, through the process of copy/paste and collage, producing new
meaning to share with others. In contemporary terms, remix is often conceptualized
as a primary way we make sense of the chaos of our everyday social worlds. In this
talk, Dr. Markham discusses how it can be used as a way of thinking about research
Thinking through the lens of remix offers a powerful means of shifting
analytical gaze from individuals and objects to relations, processes, and flows
between various elements of situations, where meaning and assemblages and
imaginaries are negotiated in relation and situated (inter)action. At the meta-level,
thinking about qualitative research practice through the framework of remix offers a
means of reconfiguring some of the practices associated with qualitative research. It
allows us to embrace and grapple with complexity (rather than trying to simplify) by
focusing less on methods (as templates to either apply to experiences and organize
these experiences into particular categories and structures) and more on meaning as
derived from a creative process of inquiry.
This talk also suggests thinking about academic research products within a
remix framework. What is the goal of inquiry? How can we situate our work within a
web 2.0, social media-saturated world? Remix focuses our attention on the way
temporally situated arguments are assembled and reassembled as they traverse
various audiences. A research product characterized as ‘remix,’ might produce
renderings whereby quality and credibility are less embedded in the adherence of a
study to particular rules of academic inquiry and more connected to the extent to
which the production (whether we call it argument, story, or finding) demonstrates
resonance with the participants, the context, or intended audience.
Rather than marginalizing the concepts of copy/cut & paste, collage, pastiche,
and mashup, a remix lens focuses on these practices as innovative and adaptive
modes of inquiry. By letting go of the idea that our academic projects should provide
answers, remix provides the researcher with a greater freedom to build creative and
compelling arguments that enter larger conversations, both inside and outside the
Speaker Bio:
Annette Markham is Professor of Information & Media Studies at Aarhus University
and Guest Professor at Umeå University’s Department of Informatics. Trained as a
communication scholar in the United States, her research focuses on sensemaking
and identity formation in internet-mediated contexts and more recently, ethical and
innovative methodologies for studying digitally-saturated social contexts. Her
sociological work related to digital identity is well represented in her book Life Online:
Researching real experience in virtual space (Altamira 1998). Other publications
include Internet Inquiry (2009, with Nancy Baym) and a range of articles and
chapters in edited volumes, handbooks, and scholarly journals. Dr. Markham has a
strong background and training in interpretive, qualitative, and ethnographic
Twitter: annettemarkham