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Title: Beauty vlogging : practices, labours, inequality
Author: Bishop, Sophie
ISNI:       0000 0004 7654 2412
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis investigates the practices and labours of beauty vloggers (video bloggers) and the inequality sustained by these labours and practices. Beauty vloggers regularly produce videos on themes including hair, beauty, fashion and relationships for their own stable, selfcontained, branded YouTube channels. The literature on beauty vlogging has examined the presentations of individual vloggers. In this thesis, I problematise the conception of beauty vlogging as a solo endeavour, situating beauty vloggers in a wider vlogging industry, in the specific geographic context of the UK. Through the lens of feminist political economy, I ask how the organisational (macro) structures, in addition to (micro) frictional interactions between industry stakeholders co-produce beauty vloggers' symbolic content. Analysis is informed by a wider three-year ethnographic study of British 'A List' vloggers on YouTube, conducted between 2015-2018, drawing from the "messy web" of research sites (Postill & Pink, 2012: 125). Ethnography thus encompasses digital, and offline elements, that make up the complexity and embodied nature of long term analysis of spaces contingent to platforms. I also conducted semi-structured interviews with beauty vloggers and stakeholders. Through 'zooming out' from analysis of the independent beauty vlogger this thesis considers how YouTube's multisided markets, algorithms and their interpretations, the subjective decisions of talent management organisations, relationships with advertisers, authenticity discourses and alignment with existing creative industries and intermediaries all shaped the content that becomes visible on YouTube. iii Very few women are able to create a sustainable career through YouTube production, although YouTube is increasingly promoted as a pathway to creative employment. In this thesis I counter YouTube's self-definition as an 'open platform'. I argue that organisational structures and interactions between stakeholders assign visibility and reify existing lines of societal inequalities, in addition to rewarding the production of commercial and feminised content in the vlogging industry.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral