2023 Best Dissertation Award

by | Oct 15, 2023 | Awards | 0 comments

The winner of the 2023 award is Tuğçe Bidav of Maynooth University for her dissertation, “Global Platform, Local Labour: Precarious YouTubing in Ireland and Turkey”.

Congratulations, Dr. Bidav!

Bidav’s dissertation offers a unique perspective by comparing creative digital labor in two countries, Turkey and Ireland. This comparative analysis makes significant contributions to internet research by situating creator labor in relation to platform affordances, regulatory frameworks, and diverse geopolitical contexts. It challenges Western-centric understandings of YouTube and provides theories grounded in localized experiences, drawing upon data from underrepresented national contexts and shedding light on creators from peripheral digital cultures. The dissertation also employs an innovative mixed methods approach that spans multiple disciplines. Tuğçe’s work is truly deserving of our recognition.

The committee has also awarded an Honorable Mention to Julian Posada, a student at the University of Toronto when he wrote, “The Coloniality of Data Work: Power and Inequality in Outsourced Data Production for Machine Learning”.

Posada’s work examines the working conditions of outsourced workers in the AI industry, with a specific focus on lower-income countries in South America. This focus makes a significant contribution to internet research by decolonizing theory and research, and bringing underrepresented linguistic communities to the forefront of scholarly debate. Furthermore, the dissertation makes policy suggestions, further extending its contribution. Posada’s work employs an intriguing and novel approach by integrating multiple disciplines and methodologies in service of his research.

Both of these dissertations make remarkable contributions to the field of internet research, addressing new problems (and, particularly, the theme of digital labor) through the lens of marginalized cases, and with innovative approaches. They impressed the award committee greatly, and will undoubtedly have a substantial impact on the field.

AoIR is deeply grateful to Rafael Grohmann, Christian Ritter, Chikezie Uzuegbunam, and especially Raquel Recuero, Chair of the Dissertation Award Committee, for the hard work that they invested in this process. (In the spirit of transparency, we note that no committee member evaluated dissertations written by students from their own institution.)