Emergency Media Research

Currently, I am conducting research on the media technologies, infrastructures, and labor practices that characterize emergency. This includes case studies of:

  • Text to 911 (NG911)
  • Campus blue light emergency phones
  • Emergency management communications
  • LifeAlert and other personal emergency response systems (PERS)
  • Smartphone safety and escort apps
  • Smartphone health and safety features (emergency contact, 911 dialing)
  • Home and car alarms

I am particularly interested in how these systems, in a context of widespread digitization and personalization of media, are shaping conditions of access for diverse populations. The access mandates that have historically characterized services such as 911 do not apply to all of the new players in this field. Thus, my research explores how these media systems may reinforce normative bodies as valuable and worthy of protection, while further disadvantaging those raced, gendered, and disabled bodies that are not marked as economically viable targets for individual emergency services.

Ultimately, I see emergency media as a civic arena in need of greater public awareness; if we take for granted the existence and efficacy of these media systems, we cede the opportunity to critique, shape, and reform them in the interests of citizens, rather than consumers or consumer industries.

**This project is currently seeking interview participants, including (but not limited to): app developers, 911 dispatchers, local emergency managers, FEMA or state level emergency professionals, care workers, device manufacturers, and users with notable experiences of engaging with these services.

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