Dr Stefania Vicari


Department of Sociological Studies

Senior Lecturer in Digital Sociology

Research Lead at Sheffield Cancer Research,

Pathway Director of the White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership

A photo of Stefania Vicari
Profile picture of A photo of Stefania Vicari
+44 114 222 6452
My office hours are on Tuesday. You can book an appointment via my calendar under links.

Full contact details

Dr Stefania Vicari
Department of Sociological Studies
The Wave
2 Whitham Road
S10 2AH

Stefania joined the Department in September 2016 as a Senior Lecturer in Digital Sociology. Prior to this, she worked as a Lecturer in Media and Communication at the University of Leicester (2011-2016) and as a Lecturer in Sociology of Cultural and Communicative Processes at the University of Sassari, Italy, (2009-2010).
Stefania’s background sits at the intersection of sociology and media and communication studies, drawing on a highly international HE journey. She was awarded a BA in Communication Sciences (Summa cum laude) from the University of Torino (Italy), an MA in Globalization and Communications (Distinction) from the University of Leicester (UK) and a PhD in Sociology from the University of Reading (UK), having spent her last doctoral year as a visiting scholar at Emory University (USA).

Research interests

Stefania’s research focuses on participatory cultures, advocacy and methodological innovation, especially in the context of digital research. She studies the role that digital traces (e.g., social media content) and technologies (e.g., digital platforms and their systems) play in advancing or constraining social change. Her research has been funded by the British Academy (2012), the Wellcome Trust (2013; 2016), the ESRC (2018) and the Leverhulme Trust (2022).  

Participatory cultures:
Stefania has explored mundane social media practices of ‘talking politics’. Her work in this field has focused on deliberative processes in the contexts of the Global Justice Movement, the World Social Forum, the Cuban blogosphere and in several issue publics on the Italian and the English Twitter. Stefania has recently focused on Covid-19 memes as a form of political communication.
Social media and health advocacy:
Stefania is interested in the role of digital media in self-care, patient advocacy, health public debate, and health activism. Her main interest is in if, how and to what extent digital media may shape bottom-up, patient-centred health practices. Stefania's work in this area is currently looking at social media affordances for individuals with rare and hereditary health conditions. 
Digital methods for cultural research:
Stefania uses a range of digital methods techniques informed by network theory and textual analysis (frame analysis, critical discourse analysis). As her recent work has focused on how linguistically or geographically local publics make themselves at home on global social media platforms, Stefania is specifically interested in developing combinations of ‘quanti’ and ‘quali’ methodological steps in digital methods designs.



Journal articles


Book reviews

  • Vicari S (2014) "Book review: transnationalizing the public sphere by Nancy Fraser et al." LSE Review of books. LSE Review of books. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Vicari S (2014) "Book Review: Sharing Our Lives Online: Risks and Exposure in Social Media by David R. Brake." LSE Review of books. LSE Review of books. RIS download Bibtex download

Conference proceedings papers


  • Vicari S (2019) "Do social media companies undervalue the expertise of online communities?" LSE Impact blog. LSE Impact Blog. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Vicari S (2016) "Career opportunities in digital media". Deccan Herald. Deccan Herald. RIS download Bibtex download
Research group

Digital Media and Society research area
Science, Technology and Medicine in Society (STeMiS) 

Postgraduate supervision
Stefania has supervised PhD projects looking at different aspects of digital media use, among which, digital activism, online political participation and knowledge production of social media.

She is particularly interested in supervising projects investigating health, illness and mundane social media content production and sharing practices.

  • 2022-2025: Leverhulme Trust, Research project grants scheme. Project Awarded: 'Previvorship in the platform society: Cancer genetic risk in the digital age’ (Principal Investigator). [Grant Ref. RPG-2021-152]
  • 2018-2021: ESRC Project Awarded: 'Sustainable Consumption, the Middle Classes and Agri-food Ethics in the Global South’ (co-Investigator. Principal Investigator: Alex Hughes). [Grant Ref. ES/R005303/1]
  • 2016-2017: Wellcome Trust, Society and Ethics Small Grants Scheme. Project Awarded: 'Twitting rare diseases on and off the "Jolie effect": A study of Twitter affordances for health public debate’ (Principal Investigator). [Grant Ref. 200223/Z/15/Z]
  • 2016-2017: University of Leicester REF-Research Impact Development Fund Scheme. Project Awarded: 'Developing the Rare disease epatient multi-project research as an impact case study'.
  • 2013-1014: Wellcome Trust, Society and Ethics Small Grants Scheme. Project Awarded: 'Bridging the gap between patients and carers: The case of rare disease patient-advocacy actors' (Principal Investigator). [Grant Ref: 101785/Z/13/Z].
  • 2012-2013: British Academy, Small Research Grants scheme. Project awarded: 'The Cuban blogosphere: A leak of voice from an authoritarian regime to a global public' (Principal Investigator). [Grant Ref: SG112222].
Teaching activities

Stefania is the Director of the Data Communication and New Technologies (DCT) pathway of the White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership (WRDTP) for the Social Sciences.

From 2016 to 2020, she directed the newly born MA Digital Media and Society, also designing and convening the programme's core modules "Researching Digital Society", "Digital Methods" and "Dissertation is Digital Media and Society". 

Stefania is currently convening the programme's core module SCS6081 Digital Methods.

Professional activities and memberships
  • Stefania is a member of the British Sociological Association, the International Communication Association and the Association of Internet Researchers.
  • She has been an Editorial board member of Sociology since 2018.
  • She has been a member of the ESRC Grant Assessment Panel B (Sociology) since September 2022.
  • She has acted as a research grant peer reviewer for ESRC, Wellcome Trust, Volkswagen Foundation and  MIUR (Ministry of Education, University and Research, Italy).
  • She has acted as a peer reviewer for a range of academic journals, among which American Journal of Sociology, Information, Communication and Society, Journal of Computer-mediated Communication, Mobilization, New Media and Society, Social Media + Society, Social Movement Studies, Social Networks, Sociological Inquiry and Sociology.
  • She has worked as an external examiner for the MA Communication and Media at the University of Leeds (2017-2021) and the MA Digital Media and Society at the University of Leicester (2021 - 2022).
Partnerships, engagement and impact

Stefania’s ongoing Leverhulme Trust-funded project Previvorship comprises a live website and three social media accounts (on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook) that share information about the progress of the research, build connections with stakeholders (gene mutation carriers, cancer patients, health professionals, policy makers, advocates) and  broadcast quality information about hereditary cancer syndromes. 

Stefania’s past and current research on rare diseases and cancer has developed in interaction with advocacy and patient organisations, seeing this interaction as a means to understand what matters to patients. For instance, following conversations with patient representatives from Lynch Syndrome UK and Lynch Syndrome Ireland, ‘Previvorship’ has developed an interactive animation meant to provide accessible information about Lynch Syndrome, a hereditary cancer condition.  
Stefania’s work has been featured at Off the Shelf Festival of words and on the LSE Impact Blog.