Annisa, Firly (2022) Contesting piety: representations of Indonesian internet celebrities on Instagram. Doctoral thesis, Keele University.

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This thesis aims to ascertain how, through the social media platform Instagram, Muslim women internet celebrities represent themselves as public figures who can represent the ummah. Through their self-representation on social media, Muslim women internet celebrities create a "public Islam" and imagined piety community. This thesis' analysis focuses on the ways different interpretations of piety, ummah, and hijrah are represented by internet celebrities, and how said internet celebrities respond to their audiences, followers and peers on Instagram, as related to their political views. It explains how piety is constructed and achieved by individual celebrities and contested on Instagram. This research also explores how ideal Muslimah identity was imagined online vis-à-vis Indonesia's social and political situation during and after the mobilisation of Muslims through the Action to Defend Islam of 2 December 2016. The research not only expands our understanding of the way texts and knowledge are structured and produced by Muslim women through performativity and performance, but also finds that discourse about piety contains important assumptions that shape Muslim internet celebrities' imagination and construction of ummah. The concepts of ummah and piety were selected for this research as both are cornerstones of the construction of Islamic identity.
The Instagram posts and accounts of eight internet celebrities, namely, Dian Pelangi, Oki Setiana Dewi, Dewi Sandra, Zaskia Sungkar, Kartika Putri, Fenita (Jayanti) Arie, Ayudiah Bing Slamet, and Tantri Syalindri Ichlasari, were analysed in this thesis. It demonstrates how these eight internet celebrities have articulated their interpretation about piety (sholehah) and how the participatory culture of online communities enables them to respond to Muslim solidarity discourse. This research employed a multimodal analysis, combining semiotic visual investigation, comment interactions, use of specific language, and narrative exploration to understand the way texts and knowledge are structured and produced by Muslim women through performativity and performance. Using a Foucauldian analysis of discursive practices (Foucault, 1972; 2010), this research scrutinises how Muslim women's identities reflect and construct political and cultural discourse through language. Data for this study was collected through archival research. Thematic analysis was combined with visual analysis to examine text and images in relation to their representation of discursive practices.
This thesis argues that the concept of piety produced by internet celebrities is formed, maintained, and constructed in connection with the past. Participatory culture and personalised social media contribute to the construction of a sense of online community, both among internet celebrities as content creators and amongst the audiences/followers who use the digital environment's participatory functions. Internet celebrities' articulation of piety, hijrah, and bodily performativity is shown and contested through Muslim women's performativity through their hijab practices. Furthermore, the findings reveal how Muslim women online celebrities prominently depict neoliberalism—as it relates to postfeminism and women subjectivities—in their daily posts.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Humanities
Contributors: Poole, EA (Thesis advisor)
Bisht, P (Thesis advisor)
Depositing User: Lisa Bailey
Date Deposited: 23 Jun 2022 11:28
Last Modified: 23 Jun 2022 11:28

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