Amelia Johns is a Senior Lecturer in Digital and Social Media. Her work spans the fields of digital media and digital citizenship studies, with a focus on young people’s negotiation of racism and citizenship in digitally networked publics. Her most recent research project examined Malaysian-Chinese youth digital practices, and the role 'the digital' plays in negotiations of political participation and citizenship. She is the author of 'Battle for the Flag' (2015), and co-editor of 'Negotiating Digital Citizenship: Control, Contest, Culture' (with Anthony McCosker and Son Vivienne, 2016). She is Co-Chair of first year unit: Citizenship and Communication (54000). She also teaches in Digital Communities (54060).
- Completed PhD, Cultural Studies, University of Melbourne, 2012: Risk Nation: Shrinking Space, lost security and the rise of violent youth sovereignties in Australia's suburbs.
Grants and Awards:
- ARC Discovery Project (2019-2021, $AUD310,000): Fostering Global Digital Citizenship: Diaspora Youth in a Connected World (Lead Investigator).
- Facebook Integrity Research Award – Foundational Social Science Research on Misinformation and Polarisation (2019, $US50,000): Decoding the Weaponising of Pop Culture on WhatsApp in Singapore and Malaysia (Investigator)
- Australia and New Zealand Communication Association (ANZCA)
- Association of Internet Researchers (AoIR)
- Cultural Studies Association of Australia (CSAA)
- Journal of citizenship and Globalisation Studies.
Can supervise: YES
- Youth digital culture
- Digital citizenship and political participation
- Networked Social Movements
- Social Media and disinformation
- Racism and Counter-racism on social media
- Co-Chair and lecturer, Communication and Citizenship (54000)
- Tutor, Digital Communities (54060)
Baulch, E, Matamoros-Fernández, A & Johns, A 2020, 'Introduction: Ten years of WhatsApp: The role of chat apps in the formation and mobilization of online publics', First Monday, vol. 25, no. 12.View/Download from: Publisher's site
This special issue, curated by Emma Baulch, Ariadna Matamoros-Fernández, and Amelia Johns, marks the end of the first decade of WhatsApp’s existence and offers a collection of essays on the importance of this technology in everyday life. Considering the rapid uptake and ubiquity of WhatsApp in places beyond the Anglophone world, including Brazil, Mexico, Malaysia, and Spain, the seven papers interrogate the opportunities and challenges that the app affords to activists and ordinary users through its main features: end-to-end encryption, groups, and the forward function.
This paper draws on data collected with Malaysian–Chinese activists and everyday citizens (aged 18–24) who used WhatsApp groups to discuss politically contentious views and actions between 2016 and 2018, prior to the GE14 election. The paper will reveal the extent to which WhatsApp enabled a ‘safe space’ for citizens to engage in political chat and activism in a context of government censorship and surveillance of more open social media platforms. A key finding is that the state’s use of the Sedition Act and the Communications and Multimedia Act to take legal action against citizens engaging in political dissent on social media produced ‘chilling effects’, leading to changes in the styles and repertoires of civic and political action adopted by participants. This was registered in a shift away from public-facing social media (Twitter, Facebook) toward use of encrypted group chat on WhatsApp and, to a lesser extent, Telegram to shape new publics, which I examine in the paper using the concept of ‘crypto-publics’.
Johns, A & Cheong, N 2019, 'Feeling the Chill: Bersih 2.0, State Censorship, and "Networked Affect" on Malaysian Social Media 2012-2018', SOCIAL MEDIA + SOCIETY, vol. 5, no. 2.View/Download from: Publisher's site
© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. In this article, I use a case study analysis of two white nationalist movements online, in the Australian context, to consider whether the prevalence and everyday uses of social media by white nationalist groups today has impacted on race relations and multiculturalism in Australia 12 years after the Cronulla riots. Social media affordances present a set of conditions that were absent during the 2005 riot, and yet, are today mobilising distinct variants of white nationalism online. Rather than these expressions being locally situated, social media allows these performances to be connected up virtually, extending the white nationalists’ capacity to occupy and terrorise a range of networked public and intimate spaces and influence mainstream political culture. Nonetheless social media affordances, which situate these movements in a virtual ‘ecology of subcultures’ also contributes to their instability and ambivalence, with the uncivil ‘trolling’ practices of online movements undermining broader social goals and contributing to even more extreme and unstable expressions online.
Mansouri, F & Johns, A 2017, 'Social networks and perceptions of intergenerational difference among migrant youth in Australia', JOURNAL OF SOCIOLOGY, vol. 53, no. 1, pp. 127-144.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Mansouri, F, Johns, A & Marotta, V 2017, 'Critical global citizenship: contextualising citizenship and globalisation', Journal of Citizenship and Globalisation Studies, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 1-9.View/Download from: Publisher's site
This introductory paper to our first issue provides reflection on the concept of critical global citizenship at both theoretical and practical levels. We maintain that ‘citizenship’, irrespective of its level of articulation (i.e. national, international, global, etc.) remains an issue that reflects a status, a feeling and practices that are intrinsically interlinked. As a legal status, formal citizenship allows individuals to form a sense of belonging within a political community and, therefore, empowers them to act and perform their citizenship within the spatial domains of the nation-state. Critical global citizenship, asks these same individuals not so much to neglect these notions of belonging and practice to a particular locale, but to extend such affinities beyond the territorial boundaries of their formal national membership and to think critically and ethically about their local, national and global relationship with those who are different from themselves. Making a case for a critical global citizenship, however, also requires acknowledging material inequalities that affect the most vulnerable (i.e. migrants, asylum seekers, those experiencing poverty, etc.) and which mean that efforts to cultivate global citizenship orientations to address social injustice are not enacted on an even playing field. As such, a critical global citizenship approach espouses a performative citizenship that is at once democratic and ethical, as well as being aimed at achieving social peace and sustainable justice, but which is also affected by material conditions of inequality that require political solutions and commitment from individuals, states, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and civil society organisations.
Vergani, M, Johns, A, Lobo, M & Mansouri, F 2017, 'Examining Islamic religiosity and civic engagement in Melbourne', JOURNAL OF SOCIOLOGY, vol. 53, no. 1, pp. 63-78.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Mansouri, F, Lobo, M & Johns, A 2016, 'Grounding Religiosity in Urban Space: insights from multicultural Melbourne', AUSTRALIAN GEOGRAPHER, vol. 47, no. 3, pp. 295-310.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Johns, A, Mansouri, F & Lobo, M 2015, 'Religiosity, Citizenship and Belonging: The Everyday Experiences of Young Australian Muslims', Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, vol. 35, no. 2, pp. 171-190.View/Download from: Publisher's site
© 2015 Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs. Abstract: Since 11 September 2001 Muslim Diasporas have emerged as objects of anxiety in Western societies. Underlying this (in)security-driven problematisation is the question of whether Muslims living in the West have the capacity to become fully active citizens while maintaining their religious beliefs, rituals and practices. This apprehension has prompted reactionary government programmes, particularly targeting young Muslims. Such responses fail to recognise the societal capacities that practising Muslims possess, including those informed by the ethical precepts of Islamic faith. This paper argues that it is timely to explore expressions of Islamic religiosity as they are grounded in everyday multicultural environments. The paper draws on survey data and interviews conducted with Muslims living in Melbourne, Australia. We take into consideration key variables of age and generation to highlight how young, practising Muslims enact citizenship through Islamic rituals and faith-based practices and traditions. The paper will draw from key findings to argue that these performances provide a foundation for exploring ways of ‘living’ together in a manner that privileges ethics central to Islamic faith traditions.
© 2014 by the authors; licensee Cogitatio (Lisbon, Portugal). This paper reviews the current literature regarding Muslim young people’s online social networking and participatory practices with the aim of examining whether these practices open up new spaces of civic engagement and political participation. The paper focuses on the experiences of young Muslims living in western societies, where, since September 11, the ability to assert claims as citizens in the public arena has diminished. The paper draws upon Isin & Nielsen’s (2008) “acts of citizenship” to define the online practices of many Muslim youth, for whom the internet provides a space where new performances of citizenship are enacted outside of formal citizenship rights and spaces of participation. These “acts" are evaluated in light of theories which articulate the changing nature of publics and the public sphere in a digital era. The paper will use this conceptual framework in conjunction with the literature review to explore whether virtual, online spaces offer young Muslims an opportunity to create a more inclusive discursive space to interact with co-citizens, engage with social and political issues and assert their citizen rights than is otherwise afforded by formal political structures; a need highlighted by policies which target minority Muslim young people for greater civic participation but which do not reflect the interests and values of Muslim young people.
Johns, A, Grossman, M & McDonald, K 2014, '“More than a game”: The impact of sport-based youth mentoring schemes on developing resilience toward violent extremism', Social Inclusion, vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 57-70.View/Download from: Publisher's site
© 2014 by the authors; licensee Cogitatio (Lisbon, Portugal). This paper draws upon the findings of an evaluation of “More than a Game”, a sport-focused youth mentoring program in Melbourne, Australia that aimed to develop a community-based resilience model using team-based sports to address issues of identity, belonging, and cultural isolation amongst young Muslim men in order to counter forms of violent extremism. In this essay we focus specifically on whether the intense embodied encounters and emotions experienced in team sports can help break down barriers of cultural and religious difference between young people and facilitate experiences of resilience, mutual respect, trust, social inclusion and belonging. Whilst the project findings are directly relevant to the domain of countering violent extremism, they also contribute to a growing body of literature which considers the relationship between team-based sport, cross-cultural engagement and the development of social resilience, inclusion and belonging in other domains of youth engagement and community-building.
McCosker, A & Johns, A 2014, 'CONTESTED PUBLICS: RACIST RANTS, BYSTANDER ACTION AND SOCIAL MEDIA ACTS OF CITIZENSHIP', MEDIA INTERNATIONAL AUSTRALIA, no. 151, pp. 66-72.