My name is Dr Crystal Abidin.
I am an anthropologist and ethnographer.
I live on the internet, and am omnipresent as wishcrys.
Nice to meet you!
WHAT’S HAPPENING NOW?
If you’re reading this page in April and May 2017, I am presently conducting fieldwork in Singapore on four projects: An oral history of punk culture in Singapore (in partnership with The Substation); Cultures of YouTube in Asia; The commodification of weddings and aspirational housing; and Digital folklore in Singapore (with the Asia Research Institute).
If you’re reading this page in June 2017, I am preparing to start on a two-year research grant awarded by the Swedish Retail and Wholesale Development Council to study the Influencer industry in Swedish fashion houses.
For updates on my research works-in-progress and upcoming talks, see here.
I am Postdoctoral Fellow with the Department of Sociology at the National University of Singapore, Affiliated Researcher with the Media Management and Transformation Centre (MMTC) at Jönköping University, Adjunct Research Fellow with the Centre for Culture and Technology (CCAT) at Curtin University, and co-investigator with the Science, Technology and Society (STS) cluster at the Asia Research Institute (ARI).
I am also the Section Editor of Contemporary Culture for PopAnth, the Editorial Advisor for Trove, and a member of the Advisory Board for Social Media + Society. I write regularly for PopAnth and Cyborgology. I completed my PhD at the departments of Anthropology & Sociology, and Media & Communication at the University of Western Australia (UWA) in 2016. My research has drawn international accolades, and in 2016 I was named among the 30 Top Thinkers Under 30 by Pacific Standard Magazine. Elsewhere, I am active in various research groups in leadership and supporting roles.
I was previously Visiting Research Fellow with the Department of Internet Studies at Curtin University, Op3n Fellow (writing fellow) with OpenCare Research at Edgeryders, Visiting Doctoral Fellow with the Media Management and Transformation Centre (MMTC) at Jönköping University, Visiting Researcher with the Digital Ethnography Research Centre (DERC) at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), and Visiting Scholar with Tembusu College at the National University of Singapore (NUS).
I am currently the chief investigator on grants awarded by the Swedish Retail and Wholesale Development Council (Sweden, Jul 2017) and The Substation (Singapore, Apr 2017), and co-investigator on grants awarded by the National Heritage Board (Singapore, Mar 2017), the University of Western Australia (Australia, Oct 2016), and the National University of Singapore (Singapore, Aug 2016).
I was previously Research Assistant on two Australian Research Council (ARC) funded projects at Edith Cowan University (ECU) and the University of Western Australia (UWA). I was also Research Assistant on various projects at the Centre for Culture and Technology (CCAT) at Curtin University, and at the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies of Culture at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). A summary of my professional development is here.
I focus on vernacular internet cultures and study young people’s relationships with internet celebrity, self-curation, and vulnerability. Recently, I have been writing about the virality of young children on social media, young people’s expression of grief on the internet, and practices of young coupling in East Asia. One of my sociological side projects looks at identity-making among mixed race persons in Singapore and Australia. See my publications and works-in-progress.
I am most known for my work on Influencers, a multimedia form of vocational microcelebrity on social media, also commonly known as commercial or professional bloggers, Tweeters, Instagrammers, YouTubers, and the like. While my expertise is on East Asia, my thesis looked specifically at Singapore, where I have been observing the industry since August 2007. Entitled “Please Subscribe! Influencers, Social Media, and the Commodification of Everyday Life”, I investigated how Influencers posture their personal lives and depiction of lifestyles in digital and physical spaces to be relatable, accumulate followers, and become commodifiable canvases for advertorials. An abstract and outline of the chapters are here and an ethnographic monograph is in the works. Since then, I have expanded this research to Southeast Asia, Australasia, and Scandinavia.
I curate case studies on Influencers and internet culture. In theory, this is my academic blog (I have eleven other blogs; yes, really). In practice, I am haphazardly navigating academia while whining about the weather. I like to remember things and am secretly a skilled cataloguer of everyday ethnographies and everyday conversations. This blog also archives my ambitious exploits and reflections as an early career academic.
Since 2011, I have been involved in industry and social enterprises, providing freelance consultations grounded in ethnography, running research projects, producing content, and giving public lectures. I teach in Anthropology, Sociology, Communications, and Media Studies. See my port folio and teaching resources. I also write regularly for the popular press and speak frequently at public engagements. If you’d like to get in touch, drop me an email (see beep below).
I held several casual jobs in various industries to support myself through grad school, with the most interesting being my role as a 24/7 library officer (think being wide awake at 0400hrs in the morning to keep a building in order) with some incredibly nocturnal co-workers.
Before academia, I used to play in several orchestras as a percussionist (ten brownies points if you can spot me). Deep inside, I still believe that one day in the future I will return to my first love and grow old playing percussion with other silver-haired people. After all, who doesn’t want to grow old in style? (see for instance, Ahmah and Bob).
I like to travel and I love penguins and pusheen. Fun fact: 60% of my daily diet comprises chocolate – I kid you not. Om nom nom.
Inbox clutter? crystalabidin[at]gmail[dot]com
Academic stalking? https://uwa.academia.edu/CrystalAbidin
Unprofessional frivolity? @wishcrys
Research on the go? @wishcrys
Visit my traveling projects thetravelingpingu and SMTNW.
Drop me a note. Or five. Or better still, send me .gifs of penguins.
This website and a proportion of its content is copyright of Crystal Abidin – © Crystal Abidin 2008