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Virtual communities: between culture and economy


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Lenard, Martina. (2015). Virtual communities: between culture and economy. Diploma Thesis. Filozofski fakultet u Zagrebu, Department of English Language and Literature. [mentor Cvek, Sven].

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From its earliest years, the development of the Internet was grounded in economic relations, be it with the government or private investors. This condition spilled over into the Web development and all of its corresponding features, including the people populating the Web – thus making an impact on a new form of community: a virtual one. The economic relations of the real world affect the creation of new forms of labor, referred to as immaterial labor, which is produced by a new type of worker. This new type of worker is endemic to the new conditions of labor most visible in instances of human interaction, participation, cooperation and collaboration in virtual communities, best examples being the social networking sites. The collaborating subject, i.e. the producer is at the same time both a consumer and a producer of the products of the social production happening in the virtual world. It is referred to as a prosumer. The concept of a prosumer is closely linked to the new forms of economic gains for the individual users. The gains need not be monetary, they also include psychological satisfaction for the individual. This psychological effect of participating in virtual communities is termed affective gain, or affective reward. In addition, the Web users’ participation in online communities is one of the main sources of profit for the large companies online owning the said social networking sites. However, there are certain aspects of collaboration online that are not susceptible to profit extraction. They include, among other things, the open source culture online. Open source movement allows the individual to be excluded from larger monetary exchanges and capitalist relations operating online. It pits users’ collaboration – seen as one of the main sources of profit – against market relations online. All these various aspects of our virtual lives are explored in detail.

Item Type: Diploma Thesis
Uncontrolled Keywords: the Internet, the Web, virtual community, neoliberalism, social production, collaboration, prosumer, immaterial labor, affective reward, open source
Subjects: English language and literature
Departments: Department of English Language and Literature
Supervisor: Cvek, Sven
Date Deposited: 18 Nov 2015 09:44
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2015 09:44

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