This paper has two objectives: to explicate the sociotechnical conditions that facilitate critique on social media platforms (specifically: Tumblr); and to operationalize a "working theory" from Foucault's conceptualization of critique. We analyze resistant practices observed (in ethnographic study) in a Not Safe For Work (NSFW) community on Tumblr, arguing that the potential for critique arises there at the intersection of platform architecture and use cultures. Specifically, we show how critique emerges from shared practices of ethics, most visibly enacted through what we call voluntary vulnerability and paying it forward. This potential for critique is arguably at risk with Tumblr's recent NSFW ban.
Available for download on Saturday, December 19, 2020