Photo of Tanya Kant

Tanya Kant
Lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies (Digital Media) (Media and Film)
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T: +44 (0)1273 877187


Research

My research investigates how web users negotiate and engage with contemporary algorithmic personalisation practices; that is, practices which seek to infer (via data tracking mechanisms and other algorithmic means) a user’s habits, preferences or identity categorisations in order to ‘make personal’ some component of that user’s web experience.

I employ qualitative methodologies – combined with critical theory and political economy – to bridge the gap between critical theorisations of algorithmic personalisation and the experience of web users themselves who encounter algorithmic personalisation in everyday life. My work so far has examined user engagements privacy tool Ghostery, Facebook's autoposting apps and 'mobile personal assistant' Google Now to explore how algorithmic interventions into users' daily movements might intersects with users' autonomy, knowledge production and sense of self. My research proposes that algorithmic personalisation demands that web users’ identities be constituted as both a stable and fixable ‘single identity’, but also as recursively reworkable, dividualised and endlessly expressable entities.

My current projects explore the relations between the 'anticipated user' and the 'user themselves' created by algorithmic personalisation, specifically in regards to algorithimcally inferred gender. My work explores questions of identity work, fertile bodies and 'database subjectivity', as well as the ways consuming gender-specific ads might be considered as digital ‘women’s work’. These projects underpin and feed into my wider interests in algorithmic culture, critical political economy of the internet and computational interventions into everyday life.