I’m Beverly and I’ve been a lecturer at York St John since 2008. I’m a ‘Citizen of the World’, or a ‘Citizen of Nowhere’ according to Theresa May. I’m also American, from North Carolina or the suburbs of Washington, DC, depending on how you define ‘from’. I originally moved to the UK to do my MA in Interactive Media at Goldsmiths College in London. I chose Goldsmiths because I thought of myself as a bit ‘arty’ and it was mentioned in a song by the Television Personalities. While I was there I developed a passion for French sociologist, Henri Lefebvre, and complaining about surveillance. Those interests then evolved into my PhD thesis, completed in 2012 at the University of York, entitled ‘Resistance to Surveillance in Everyday Life’ which used the work of Henri Lefebvre and the Situationists to develop a framework for understanding everyday monitoring and everyday practices of resistance.
After a semester as a visiting lecturer in Media Studies I began working at YSJ full-time in 2008 running the BA Communication and Culture programme and taught on International Studies, Peace Studies and English Language and Linguistics. When the Communication and Culture programme was closed I moved to English Language and Linguistics where I mainly spend my time teaching modules such as Language and Identities, Analysing Media Texts and E-Communication at BA and MA level as well as supervising PhD students. I began teaching on the new Sociology programme in 2015.
Like my teaching background, my research is interdisciplinary. I’m happy to rummage for ideas across many disciplines. The work from my PhD has sort of split into four main areas of research.
- ‘Consumption of Surveillance’ – Within my PhD I explored how consuming surveillance works to ideologically legitimate surveillance practices. I have expanded upon this with research on the use of surveillance technologies in Las Vegas casinos and how tourists consume both vice and surveillance. This work was funded via a visiting fellowship at the Center for Gaming Research at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Additionally, I have begun a Critical Discourse Analysis of toys which use artificial intelligence and surveillance to explore how children are socialised to embrace surveillance through the consumption of such toys.
- ‘New forms of collective action towards precarious labour’ – The Taxi Workers Association of Pennsylvania was a case study for my PhD. I was interested in how the taxi drivers had adapted traditional forms of collective action to contest the introduction of GPS (global positioning systems) within cabs across the city of Philadelphia. More recently, with funding from the British Academy of Management, I have been looking at forms of collective action deployed to preserve the fishing industry on a small island off the coast of North Carolina. While centred upon saving the fishing industry this project is also tied to debates over tourism, regulation, community and identity. Finally, using job advertisements as data, I have been looking at the ways in which casinos in Las Vegas circumvent employment regulation in the hiring of seasonal cocktail waitresses.
- ‘Theories of Resistance’ – This work draws upon the theoretical side of my PhD considering what ‘counts’ as resistance and how practices of subversion and evasion can be integrated into everyday life with a focus on resistance to everyday forms of monitoring and surveillance. Again taking a inter-disciplinary approach, this research draws upon ideas from sociology, cultural studies, new media studies and contemporary art.
- ‘Political discourse and new media’ – Lastly, politician’s use social media as a way of communicating and connecting directly with the public. But, is the public that they engage with through social media truly representative of the public more broadly? And, what are the implications for political discourse when politicians are increasingly communicating via social media? The approach to this work is to examine how brief but intense controversies involving UK politicians play out via Twitter.
Beyond my academic life, I am obsessed with music, having been a musician for many years, and my cat, Washington.