Dr Stefania Vicari

Laurea (Hons), MA, PhD

Department of Sociological Studies

Senior Lecturer in Digital Sociology and Director of the Data Communication and New Technologies (DCT) pathway of the White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership (WRDTP).

Dr 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
Elmfield Building
Northumberland Road
S10 2TU

Stefania joined the Department in September 2016 as a Senior Lecturer in Digital Sociology. Prior to this, she worked as a Lecturer in Sociology of Cultural and Communicative Processes at the University of Sassari, Italy, (2009-2010), and as a Lecturer in Media and Communication at the University of Leicester (2011-2016).

Stefania's university life started at the University of Turin, Italy, where she was awarded a laurea in Communication Sciences (summa cum laude).

Stefania then moved to the UK to receive a Master in Globalization and Communications (Distinction) from the University of Leicester and a PhD in Sociology from the University of Reading. She spent her final year as a visiting PhD student at the Sociology Department of Emory University, USA.

Research interests

Stefania's overarching research interest is in dynamics of civic engagement on digital platforms of communication.

Her approach to online data is based on a variety of textual analysis techniques - with an increasing focus on text analytics - informed by social network and framing theories.

Stefania specifically focuses on digital activism and digital health. 

Digital activism:

Stefania's early research focused on how digital media ease upward and downward scale shifts (i.e., from local to transnational and vice versa) in framing grievances. Work in this camp investigated the Global Justice Movement and the World Social Forum. Stefania is also particularly interested in social media use with relevance to public sphere processes in the context of protest events, issue publics, everyday talk. Her work in this field has specifically focused on interactional and deliberative processes in the Cuban blogosphere and on meaning construction on Twitter streams relevant to anti-austerity protests in Italy.

Digital health:

Stefania is interested in the role of digital media in health democratising processes, especially in processes of self-care, patient advocacy, health public debate, and health activism. Her main interest is in if, how and to what extent digital media may enhance bottom-up, patient-centred health practices. Stefania's work in this area is currently looking at online affordances for rare disease patient organisations in advocacy and activist dynamics and rare disease discourse practices on Facebook and Twitter.

Digital Methods


Journal articles

Research group

Stefania has supervised PhD projects looking at different aspects of digital media use, among which, digital literacy, digital activism and online political participation.

She is particularly interested in supervising students investigating participatory dynamics on digital media platforms and/or who wish to apply digital methods approaches.

Stefania also has a strong interest in projects looking at health and social media use.

  • 2018-2020: 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

From 2016 to 2020, Stefania was programme director for the MA Digital Media and Society. She currently convenes SCS6107 Researching Society (postgraduate) and contributes teaching to the modules:

  • SCS2024 Digital Media and Social Change (undergraduate)
  • SCS6081 Digital Methods (postgraduate)
PhD Students