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Exploring haul videos on YouTube: a collective case study approach




Keats, Emily S., author
Champ, Joseph, advisor
Rouner, Donna, committee member
Ogle, Jennifer, committee member

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The present study is devoted to the exploration of haul videos on YouTube. As a phenomenon that has exploded within the last several years, these videos are ripe with data to be analyzed from numerous standpoints. The circuit of culture, a framework from the school of cultural studies, was used to guide this research. Three case studies were carried out for this project. Each case included a semi-structured online interview with a hauler (i.e. a producer of haul videos), as well as an examination of one haul video posted by each hauler and an analysis of 100 comments posted to each selected video. Constant comparison processes were used to analyze data sources from each. After engaging in an extensive investigation of the haul video phenomenon, I propose that three major themes exist, each of which relates to the circuit of culture. First, the concept of community is present within the fashion and beauty domain on YouTube. Second, production and consumption emerge as key moments that not only relate to the theoretical framework, they are interrelated and assist haul video producers and consumers (viewers) in creating meaning. Thirdly, the concept of identity is present in that producers and consumers alike engage in identity exploration and construction through their creation and consumption of haul videos. This research indicates that the hauling community on YouTube facilitates a shared sphere of meaning exchange, through which producers and viewers are able to consume, produce and decipher messages, virtually socialize, and engage in identity construction.


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circuit of culture
cultural studies
haul video


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