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Hanna Szabó M.A.

Hanna Dorottya Szabó (she/her, Budapest, 1991) is a PhD candidate and Marie Skłodowska-Curie Early Stage Researcher. She is conducting research in the framework of the European Training Network project "G-Versity - Achieving Gender Diversity" since April 2021. She studied Political Science, and Media and Performance studies at Utrecht University (B.A., 2016) and Media and Communication Sciences at Corvinus University Budapest (M.A., 2018). Her research investigates the broader political context and media environment of Hungary, with a special focus on gender and sexuality, to examine how adolescents use social networking platforms and express their gender identity in the online space. The aim of her research is to map the relationship between the Hungarian socio-political context, affordances of social media platforms, and the experiences and self-portrayal practises of adolescents on social networking sites.

Project abstract

Over the last three decades, the Internet and later social networking sites became increasingly wide-spread, especially penetrating younger generations' social environment. Social networking sites give way to alternative ways of knowledge-gaining, self-expression and community-building. Teenagers negotiate their identities and formulate their self-expressions in this digitalised environment, where offline agents of socialisation are intertwined with the online public. Online identities and activities do not exist as a complementary secondary component of physical "real" life, but they are integrated into the daily practices and rituals of self-realisation, and shape our learning and working environments, families, friendships and romantic relationships. 

The broader socio-political situation contextualises self-realisation. The socio-political environment of Hungarians in the last decade can be characterised by strengthening the neoliberal economic structure and policy-making, as well as the right-wing conservative political agenda. In terms of the gender debate, the Hungarian government is making an increasing effort to spread the importance of traditional gender roles.

The research questions are asked to explore the context that adolescents have to negotiate their gender identities in online, and to address how they perform their identities on the internet regarding gender identity. Accordingly, this PhD project intends to (1) investigate Hungary's broader political context and media environment with a particular focus on gender politics by a mixed-method approach, and (2) to uncover the gendered experiences and self-portrayal of young people on social media in this particular context through narrative interviews. The specific aim of this doctoral project is to map the complex relationship between the socio-economic context, affordances of social media platforms, and the experiences and self-portrayal practices of adolescents on digital media.