Nottingham University Business School
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Matthew Voigts

M.Sc., Digital Anthropology, with Distinction - University College London B.A., Writing, Magna Cum Laude - Wartburg College

Room: C30 (South Building)
Tel: +44 (0) 115 84

Current Status: Writing up
Year of Registration: 2014
Expected Completion Date: /09/2017

Primary Funding Source:
Horizon Centre for Doctoral Training

Research Topic:
Island How refugees and other travellers experience and maintain informational privacy

Research Details:
As long-distance communication technologies have advanced, conceptions of "privacy" have shifted from primarily concerning personal space toward emphasizing individuals' control over personal information. This PhD dissertation research seeks to re-examine the role of physical proximity in privacy via ethnographic research with island visitors, exploring what they share via social media and other digital communications.

The island itself is a potent metaphor and a practical technology of separation, dislocated physically from visitors' lives elsewhere. Refugees and leisure travellers have different concerns, but both groups make observable decisions to share, withhold and narrate their experiences for distant friends and family. The digital infrastructures visitors employ also store and interpret data at distant epicentres, sometimes employing practices which have caused concern among advocates for privacy. Physical distance between data and people allows individuals, businesses, and institutions to propagate meanings, with the weight accorded to different meanings having implications for individuals' private and public lives.

Field sites may include Malta, Lesvos and Tiree. This research is being conducted through the Horizon Centre for Doctoral Training and in connection with the Open Rights Group.

Research questions include

At what points do refugees' personal narratives come into contact and conflict with narratives about them held by institutions and other individuals, and how is digital communication involved?

Are leisure travellers more or less exacting with how they share information on vacation than at home?

How can the practices and concerns of travellers be incorporated into digital technology design and policy?

Research Supervisor/s: Scott McCabe

Department: Marketing

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