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Title: Using Linguistic Ethnography to Study Techno Eliteness of Social Media Audiences
Author(s): Beyl, Joke
Lin, Yu-Wei
Editor(s): Zeller, F
Ponte, C
O'Neill, B
Citation: Beyl J & Lin Y (2015) Using Linguistic Ethnography to Study Techno Eliteness of Social Media Audiences. In: Zeller F, Ponte C, O'Neill B (ed.). Revitalising Audiences: Innovations in European Audience Research. Routledge Studies in European Communication Research and Education, 5, Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 106-122.
Issue Date: 2015
Series/Report no.: Routledge Studies in European Communication Research and Education, 5
Abstract: First paragraph: In this chapter, we offer a methodological framework for an in-depth study on ‘techno elite’ audiences. Elite research usually looks into the relationships between those who rule and those who are ruled, the social characteristics of those who exercise power, the relations between elites and society, elite recruitment and elite circulation (cf. Aron, 1950a, 1950b; Putnam, 1976). A social analysis of elites in an era profoundly shaped by digital technologies is timely and vital to update existing understanding of power relationships and societal structures in relation to media content production and consumption. Traditionally, research methodology for elite studies is based on static social categories fixated in sectors, organizations and positions. As argued by many scholars in elite, intellectual, and class studies, it is difficult to define who the elites are given the fuzziness and overloaded meanings of the term and the increasingly convergent media industries. The notion of “elites”, argued Kidd and Nicholls (1998), just like those of “middle class” or “intellectuals”, needs to evolve from a “primitive sense of classification, that is of an attempt to position individuals within a static social hierarchy, to one in which it signifies complex social characteristics and dynamic social relationships” (p.xvii). That said, elite cannot be understood (solely) “as an objective phenomenon, measurable in terms of income or occupation or some other clearly definable index”; instead, and perhaps more practically, it should be understood as “one with a subjective component – with consciousness, ideology and language” (ibid.). It is precisely in this latter realm that we want to investigate ‘techno elite audience’ from a linguistic ethnographic perspective, because a combination of linguistic and ethnographic approaches helps understand how ‘eliteness’ of both cultural producers and their audiences is demonstrated, expressed, constructed and situated.
Rights: This is an Accepted Manuscript of a chapter published by Taylor & Francis Group in Revitalising Audiences: Innovations in European Audience Research, ed. by Frauke Zeller, Cristina Ponte and Brian O'Neill on 05/11/2014, available online:

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