Dr Jolynna Sinanan

Jolynna_SinananDr Jolynna Sinanan has an interdisciplinary background in anthropology and development studies and her research focuses on digital media practices in relation to regionally comparative mobilities, family relationships, work and gender. She completed her PhD in Arts (Development Studies) in 2013 and since then, she has developed an international research profile around comparative ethnographic studies of digital practices and infrastructures in relation to intergenerational mobilities across cultural and social contexts in the Asia-Pacific, the Caribbean and South Asia. Her current region of focus is Nepal where she is examining mobile media and mobile livelihoods in the Everest tourism industry. Her first monograph Social Media in Trinidad (UCL Press, 2017), is the first book which combines a more conventional anthropological study based on ethnography with social media research in the Caribbean region. The book is part of the Why We Post series with UCL Press, which also includes her co-authored volumes Visualising Facebook and How the World Changed Social Media. The collection presents the most comprehensive analysis of social media in regional contexts and is the outcome of the first anthropological project of its scale to be funded by the European Research Council. Jolynna is also the co-author of Digital Media Practices in Households (Hjorth et. al. Amsterdam University Press, 2020) and Webcam (Miller and Sinanan, Polity, 2014). Alongside publishing books, Jolynna’s research has appeared in high impact journals in media studies and anthropology including the New Media and Society, the International Journal of Communication and Ethnos. Jolynna Sinanan has demonstrated an ongoing commitment to public dissemination (through being invited to present a TEDx talk in Port of Spain in 2016) as well as innovative teaching (through producing short films for Why We Post, publicly accessible on YouTube and developing an online course with FutureLearn in addition to institutional settings). At the ICS, Jolynna will contribute to the People Program in the Western Sydney University node of the Australian Research Council’s Centre of Excellence in Automated Decision-Making and Society (ADM+S). Her research will examine the ADM encounter in the Global South to identify comparative themes that might inform the ADM encounter among CALD (culturally and linguistically diverse) populations in Australia.


  • PhD in Arts (Development Studies), 2013, University of Melbourne

Research Focus

  • Digital anthropology
  • Digital ethnography
  • Anthropology of development
  • Regionally comparative mobilities
  • Family relationships, work, gender, political engagement

Selected Publications

Sinanan, Jolynna. 2017. Social Media in Trinidad: Values and Visibility. London: UCL Press.

Miller, Daniel and Jolynna Sinanan. 2017. Visualising Facebook: A Comparative Perspective. London: UCL Press.

Miller, Daniel, Elisabetta Costa, Nell Haynes, Tom McDonald, Razvan Nicolescu, Jolynna Sinanan, Juliano Spyer, Shriram Venkatramen and Xinyuan Wang. 2016. How the World Changed Social Media. London: UCL Press.

Hjorth, Larissa, Kana Ohashi, Jolynna Sinanan, Heather Horst, Sarah Pink, Fumitoshi Kato and Baohua Zhou. 2020. Digital Media Practices in Households: Kinship Through Data. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.

Miller, Daniel and Jolynna Sinanan. 2014. Webcam. Cambridge: Polity.

Sinanan, Jolynna. 2019. Visualising Intimacies: the circulation of digital images in the Trinidadian context. Emotion, Space and Society 31: 93-101.

Sinanan, Jolynna, Hjorth, Larissa, Ohashi, Kana and Kato, Fumitoshi. 2018. Mobile Media Photography and Intergenerational Families. International Journal of Communication 12: 4106-4122

Pink, Sarah, Sinanan, Jolynna, Hjorth, Larissa and Horst, Heather. 2015. Tactile digital ethnography: researching mobile media through the hand. Mobile Media & Communication 4(2): 237–251.

Sinanan, Jolynna and Hosein, Gabrielle Jamela. 2017. Non-activism: Political engagement and Facebook through ethnography in Trinidad. Social Media + Society 3(3) n.p.

Sinanan, Jolynna. 2021. From social media to media socialities: Work, relationships and the transformation of values in the Australian mining and Everest tourism industries. Submitted to Anderson, Magnus, Maren Hartmann, Erika Polson and Annette Hill (eds). Mobile Socialities. London: Routledge. pp. 225­–237.

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