Publication | Performing honor online: The affordances of social media for surveillance and impression management in an honor culture

  • author:
  • Katy E. Pearce
  • Publisher: New Media & Society
  • Date: September 29, 2015
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See Professor Katy Pearce’s new article Performing honor online: The affordances of social media for surveillance and impression management in an honor culture in the New Media and Societies Journal.

Congratulations, Dr. Pearce!


Abstract

In recent years, research on online impression management has received considerable scholarly attention, with an increasing focus on how the affordances of new media shape the impression management process. However, scant attention has been paid to how individuals perform their identity online in places where surveillance is the norm—and punishment for non-compliance to behavioral codes is severe. This qualitative study of Azerbaijan, an honor culture with a norm of surveillance and serious repercussions for deviating from behavioral codes, explores how young adults balance the tensions between wanting to connect, create, and interact in these spaces while still adhering to behavioral codes. Findings from interviews reveal a complex set of strategies young people employ to both adhere to and break free of the restrictions they experience in offline settings. In many ways, these strategies are similar to those identified in research on more open societies; however, the ramifications for behavioral violations are so severe that careful and controlled impression management becomes paramount for Azerbaijanis, and especially so for women, who face significantly more restrictions than men.