Anuli Obiodu Akanegbu

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

New York U.

Grant number

Gr. 10400

Approve Date

October 11, 2022

Project Title

Akanegbu, Anuli (New York U.) "The South Got Something to Share: How Atlanta, GA Became the New Influencer Capital of America"

I employ a mixed-methods ethnographic approach to the study of labor by examining how Black social media content creators, or, ‘Influencers’ in the local ‘Creator Economy’ of Atlanta, GA are blurring the boundaries between labor and leisure, the private and the public, and the physical and the digital that have come to define modern capitalism. The ‘Creator Economy’ is a labor market within the larger ‘Creative Economy’ and consists of the networks of people working as social media Influencers and the businesses across the industries of media, marketing, retail, and technology that rely on their labor to improve brand awareness and drive messages to consumers. My study is guided by the following connected questions: (1) What are the systematic everyday practices and routines involved in the labor of ‘Influencing’ and (2) How do intersecting markers of identity such as race, gender, sexuality, class, and geography impact the ability of a person to become influential in such a way that they are able to convert symbolic cultural and social capital into material economic capital? This project ultimately considers how practices of racialized and gendered labor continue to structure the lives of people of African descent even as new technologies emerge.