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Sociology: People


Kate Orton-Johnson

Kate Orton-Johnson
Dr Kate Orton-Johnson
Senior Lecturer in Sociology
2.06 18 Buccleuch Place Edinburgh UK EH8 9LN
+44 (0)131 651 1230
Research Interests
Digital Culture, New Media, Digital Ethnography, Digital Leisure, Blogging and mediated parenthood, Social media, digital methodologies

Guidance and Feedback Hours

  • During Semester 1: Tuesday and Wednesday 10.00 - 11.00 During Semester 2: Thursday 13.00 - 15.00


  • MSc in Sociological Research Methods (University of Surrey)
  • PhD (University of Surrey)

Research Interests

My research interests relate to  intersections between technology, culture and everyday life.

I am currently working on a project studying the ways in which we "detox" ourselves from social media and the processes and meanings of disconnecting from digital culture.

I am also working on how we can understand digital leisure, in particular blogging and vlogging. This work currently focuses on the ways in which Motherhood is articulated represented and resisted online.

  • Digital Sociology
  • Digtal culture
  • Internet research & Innovative/online methodologies
  • Ethics & practicalities of ICTs as research tools & research sites
  • Cultures of learning & e-learning
  • Online leisure and technological mediations of leisure practices
  • Intersections of 'real' & 'virtual'
  • Sociology of (online) humour

I am also a QSR trainer and consultant for NVivo CAQDAS software. 

Current PhD supervision:

Kath Basset: Locative media in the social realm

Idil Galip: The Memeing of Politics: A Genealogy of Online Political Humour

Jasmiina Olifirenko : social media, selfie culture  and aesthetic surgery  

Recently Completed PhD supervision:

Esje Stapleton: Postructuralist and Extended Mind Philosophy

Yi-Tao Lee: Blogging and Online fatherhood

Aliette Lambert: Materiality and identity confusion:An inquiry into the lived consumption experience of female emerging adults

Madeline Breeze: Gender identities, sport and roller derby

Kirsti McGregor: Gender and web 2.0

Sam Friedman: Festival culture and humour 

Lucy Nicholas: Poststructuralist gender identity in Queer e-perzines and blogs, 

Götz Harald Frommholz :The Labour Market Perspectives of The Kitchen-Furniture Industry in East Westphalia 

Liapeng Matsau: Higher Education in South Africa

Orlando Villalbos: Politics of Production of Culture: Developing Independent Games 

Recent and upcoming talks

Keynote speaker at “Smart Ideas and a New Concept of Economic Regeneration in Europe”  (25th - 27th October 2018) Dubrovnik, Croatia 

Panel speaker at Understanding the political economy of digital technology: A BSA Digital Sociology Study Group event hosted by the Web Science conference at (May 27th 2018) Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam 

Haptic textiles in digital places Textile and Place (13th April) Manchester School of Art

Detoxing from digital parenting: the precarious pressure of parenting apps. BSA annual conference (10th April 2018) Newcastle  BSA Press release about the paper

From digital parent to liberated parent? Exploring experiences of digitally mediated parenthood. Digitising Early Childhood Conference (11th – 15th September 2017) Perth, Australia

Recent Publications

(forthcoming) From digital parent to liberated parent? Exploring experiences of digitally mediated parenthood. In Green et. al. (Eds.)  Digitising Early Childhood. Cambridge Scholars.

(2017) Mummy Blogs and Representations of Motherhood: “Bad Mummies” and Their Readers  Social Media + Society  Volume: 3 issue: 2 [Available here]

(2016)  Digitally mediated motherhood in Basden Arnold, L. (Eds) Taking the Village Online: Mothers, Motherhood, and Social Media Demeter Press Bradford ON [Available here]

(2015) Orton-Johnson, K., Prior, N. and Gregory, K. "Sociological Imagination: Digital Sociology and the Future of the Discipline." Special Section on Digital Sociology. The Sociological Review. 

(2014) Rethinking Community? Facebook as a learning backchannel. In, Kent, M. & Leaver, T (Eds.) An Education in Facebook? HIgher Education and the Worlds Largest Social Network. Routledge, London [Available here]

(2014) DIY citizenship, critical making and community. In Ratto, M. & Boler, M. (Ed.)  DIY citizenship MIT press, Massachusetts [Available here[Brian Loader's review of the book and of my chapter is available here]

(2014) Knit, purl, upload: digital mediations of craft Leisure Studies  Volume 33Issue 3, [2012 online early edition available here] (Selected for the Editor’s Virtual Special Issue for Leisure Studies)

(2013) Digital Sociology: Critical Perspectives  Palgrave Macmillan, London (edited with Prior, N.) [Available here]

(2013) Mediating the Digital (with Prior, N.) In Digital Sociology: Critical Perspectives  Palgrave Macmillan, London (edited with Prior, N.) 

(2011) Social research methods and open educational resources [available here] (with Fairweather, I.) C-SAP (Higher Education Academy's Centre for Sociology, Anthropology and Politics) Discovering Collections of Social Science Open Educational Resources.

(2010)  Ethics in online research; evaluating the ESRC Framework for Research Ethics categorisation of risk. Sociological Research Online 14(4) 

(2009) 'I've stuck to the path I'm afraid' Exploring student non-use of blended learning. The British Journal of Educational Technology. Volume 40, Number 5, pp 837-847 (11) 

(2008) 'Give me a website and I'll wipe out a rainforest'. Student constructions of Technology and learning. The International Journal of Learning. Volume 14 Issue 12 pp 161-166

(2007) The Online Student: Lurking, Chatting, Flaming and Joking. Sociological Research Online (shortlisted for the 2008 Sage Prize for Innovation and Excellence) 12(6)

(2006) 'Using the Internet' (with Wakeford, N. and Jungnickel, K.) in Gilbert, N. (ed) From Postgraduate to Social Scientist: A Guide to Key Skills. Sage, London

Topics interested in supervising

I welcome enquiries about supervision of research in the areas of Digital Culture. I have expertise in culture / technology, Digital Leisure, Internet research and innovative methodological uses of web technologies, cultures of learning and e -learning. I have supervised projects relating to these research interests with students working on gaming, gender and web 2.0, humour, gender identities and roller derby, Queer e-perzines and blogs, Blogging fatherhood and HE in South Africa.

If you are interested in being supervised by Kate Orton-Johnson, please see the links below for more information:

PhD in Sociology