Alexandra Boutopoulou

Information School

PhD researcher

Alexandra Boutopoulou
aboutopoulou1@sheffield.ac.uk

Full contact details

Alexandra Boutopoulou
Information School
Michael Lynch Laboratory (RC-323)
Regent Court (IS)
211 Portobello
Sheffield
S1 4DP
Profile

I hold a BA in English Language and Literature (University of Athens), an MA in Communication (University of Westminster) and an MSc in Data Science (University of Sheffield).

Before starting my PhD, I worked in the fields of communication, advertising and digital/social media in London, Luxembourg and Athens, for 15 years


PhD project

Title: "Using visual social media data to better understand food safety cultures: the case of wellness bloggers."

My research draws upon the increasingly popular practices of a set of highly active online actors self-defined as ‘wellness’ bloggers and its aim is to chart the ways in which (visual) social media have shaped recent social phenomena of healthy eating, wellness discourses and lifestyle practices in the UK. To achieve its aim, the thesis focuses on the analysis of the visual social media content generated by a particular actor, the influential food blogger Deliciously Ella.

Through a set of questions that investigate, among others, a) the key features of wellness blogging micro-celebrities, b) the disruption of traditional media systems and hierarchies, c) the adoption of the wellness bloggers practices by ordinary social media users, d) the understanding of the wider social phenomenon of healthy eating and wellness lifestyle practices mediated through social media platforms, this research attempts to shed light to an under-explored and new social phenomenon.

A combination of mixed methods is being used in order to analyse a large dataset of Instagram images and at the same time, ethnographic methods further enhance this research, aiming at providing different epistemic points of entry into the phenomenon under study.

This project is funded by the White Rose ESRC Network on ‘Big Data and Food Safety’, led by Professor Peter Jackson (University of Sheffield). This network is a research collaboration with the Food Standards Agency UK.

Supervisors

  • Dr Briony Birdi (University of Sheffield)
  • Dr Nick Emmel (University of Leeds)
Research interests
  • Visual Social Media
  • Instagram
  • Big Data
  • Analytics
  • Social Media
Grants

My project is funded by the White Rose ESRC Network on ‘Big Data and Food Safety’, led by Professor Peter Jackson (University of Sheffield). This network is a research collaboration with the Food Standards Agency UK.

Professional activities

Events and conference presentations

Understanding Food in a Digital World - ESRC Festival of Social Science November 2020 https://youtu.be/kCWD_ctQK58?t=1451