Platformed Cultures: Influencers, Followers and Digital Media Production

Course content

Over the past decade, scholarly attention was significantly focused on the impact and governance of digital platforms and their effects on culture and cultural production. One phenomenon lies at the heart of current debates around the platformisation of culture: the rise of influencers. The figure of the “influencer” has taken over media reports across the world. Suddenly, digital content creators appear on TV, in newspapers and magazines, significantly shaping conversations on topics as diverse as politics, sustainable lifestyles, video games or how to raise children. Content creators are responsible for the emergence of new forms of cultural production happening on, across and beyond platforms. Moreover, the industry behind influencers has become a social media economy of its own, with enormous revenues in marketing and advertising. This course aims to give an introduction into the world of influencers as well as the platformed cultures that emerge through content creation. The course is divided into two parts.


The first part of this course takes a more theoretical approach to the study of platformed cultures and aims to give the students a better understanding of platforms and their role in our society with a particular focus on social media platforms, influencers and content creation. Throughout the six weeks, we will study platforms with the aim of better understanding what platforms are, how they operate, and how these platforms have given rise to new modes of creative expression and social media influencers, as well as how these new technological and cultural phenomena are changing our society and culture. The final week of this part of the course will be centered around a methods workshop where students will be introduced to different methods for researching digital platforms, content and related issues. Here the students will also begin the initial preparations for their exam projects. 

In the second part of the course, we will further explore the dependencies between digital content creators, platforms and followers. To this end, concrete case studies are presented to show how questions of gender, race, intersectionality and precariousness are essential to understanding the complicated dynamics of “influencing” across digital platforms. In addition, the course is accompanied by guest lectures to introduce students to current research in the field and to inspire them for their own projects. The final session of the course will be a full-day workshop preparing students for the exams by providing them with individual and peer-feedback.

The course alternates between lectures, discussions and group work.

For information on Exam provisions, Syllabus and Academic targets,

We will engage in English language literature related to the topics addressed in each session. There will be links to or PDF of the texts in question in the Absalon space.

Examples of relevant literature:

Bishop, S. (2019). “Managing visibility on YouTube through algorithmic gossip”. New Media & Society, 21(11-12), pp. 2589–2606.

Duffy, Brooke E. (2018). (Not) Getting Paid to Do What You Love. Yale University Press,

pp. 98-135.

Hund, E. (2023). The Influencer Industry: The Quest for Authenticity on Social Media. Princeton University Press, pp. 12-35.

Van Dijck, J. (2014). Datafication, dataism and dataveillance: Big Data between scientific paragidm and ideology. Surveillance & Society, 12(2), 197-208.

Van Dijck, J., Poell, T. & De Waal, M. (2018). “The Platform Society as a Contested Concept”. The Platform Society: Public Values in a Connective World (pp. 7-30). Oxford University Press.

Zuboff, S. (2015). Big Other: Surveillance Capitalism and the Prospects of an Information Civilization. Journal of Information Technology, 30, 75-89. 

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Feedback by final exam (In addition to the grade)
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
Type of assessment
Censorship form
No external censorship
Criteria for exam assessment
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 56
  • Preparation
  • 279
  • Guidance
  • 1
  • Exam
  • 84
  • English
  • 420


Course number
Programme level
Full Degree Master
Bachelor choice
Full Degree Master choice

1 semester

Fall 2023
The course has a capacity of max. 40 students. Out of these 40, 10 seats are allocated to international students in the first registration round.
Study board of Arts and Cultural Studies
Contracting department
  • Department of Arts and Cultural Studies
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Humanities
Course Coordinators
  • Sara Kepinska Meleschko   (9-746c736c7a6a6f7276476f7c7435727c356b72)
  • Tanja Anna Wiehn   (11-7663706c6330796b676a70426a776f306d7730666d)

Sara Kepinska Meleschko and Tanja Wiehn

Saved on the 26-10-2023

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