[Air-l] viewing American class divisions through Facebook and MySpace

Éric GEORGE george.eric at uqam.ca
Mon Jul 2 00:33:22 PDT 2007

Hi all,

I don't know if the book has been translated in 
other languages like English or Spanish but 'Le 
nouvel esprit du capitalisme' from Luc Boltanski 
and Eve Chiapello tries -- among other things -- 
to theorize the concept of 'exploitation' in a 
connected world.

Best Wishes

Éric GEORGE, Professor, École des médias, Faculté 
de communication, UQAM (Montreal, Qc, Canada)
Co Chair, Interdisciplinary Research Group on 
Communication, Information and Society (GRICIS) 

>i have read danah's article, found it interesting and like the
>conclusion that "myspace and facebook are new representations of the
>class divide in american youth".
>my comment goes into another direction than the discussion thus far.
>for me the important aspect of the paper is that class still counts. we
>should try to find ways of arguing which classes we find in contemporary
>informational capitalism and how class stratification has been changing
>in the age of the internet.
>as i am mainly interested in and am dealing with theoretical aspects, i
>have tried to tackle the issue of class in informational capitalism some
>months ago.
>i think if we speak about class, we need a clear definition of it that
>is theoreticall grounded.
>basically there are two possibilities: a marxist notion of class
>connects the concept to exploitation, a weberian notion to
>life-situation, life-style, etc.
>i find concepts of the first sort critical, of the second type
>affirmative and unsuitable (e.g. the class concepts of giddens,
>goldthorpe, etc).
>marx applied the class concept to the social relation constituting
>surplus value production, erik olin wright added the ideas of skills
>exploitation (cultural) and organizational exploitation (political),
>both within strictly economic relations; bourdieu has a more general
>class concept based on the idea of the asymmetric accumulation of
>economic, political, cultural, and symbolic capital. hardt and negri
>recently developed a nice idea of class relations constituted by
>exploitation of the production of the commons.
>if one can define reputation formation at the expense of others  ("i am
>smart cause i am on facebook, you are dumb because you are on myspace",
>etc) as symbolic exploitation that reflects underlying forms of economic
>oppressions then i am in favour of speaking of cultural exploitation and
>class formation in the case that danah has been describing, if one can't
>define what the exploited surplus that is produced by the subaltern
>groups and transfered towards the hegemonic groups in such cases of
>non-economic exploitation, then i am in favour of speaking of
>political/organizational and cultural forms of oppression, but not of
>exploitation and class-formation in danah's example.
>i am actually arguing for several things:
>* class should be connected to the idea of exploitation.
>* we need a theory of class in the information age
>* class counts
>* we need neo-marxist theories of informational capitalism in order to
>come to grips with the theoretical underpinnings and concrete-real
>phenomena of today
>the basic theoretical question about youth and class in myspace and
>facebook then is:
>do the facebook-upper class kids exploit the lower class myspace kids?
>in which ways? (if so, we more go into a bourdieuian or wrightian sense
>of exploitation and class formation) if not, then it is a form of
>oppression or the division simply reflects that the parents of the
>facebook kids more tend to be economic exploiters and the parents of
>myspace kids more tend to be economic exploitees (which constitutes a
>class concept that stays within the more traditional economic concept of
>Univ.Ass. Dr. Christian Fuchs
>Assistant Professor for Internet and Society
>ICT&S Center - Advanced Studies and Research
>in Information and Communication Technologies & Society
>University of Salzburg
>Sigmund Haffner Gasse 18
>5020 Salzburg
>christian.fuchs at sbg.ac.at
>Phone +43 662 8044 4823
>Fax   +43 662 6389 4800
>Managing Editor of tripleC - peer reviewed open access
>online journal for the foundations of information science:
>Forthcoming BOOK:
>Fuchs, Christian (2008) Internet and Society: Social Theory in the
>Information Age. New York: Routledge.
>The air-l at listserv.aoir.org mailing list
>is provided by the Association of Internet Researchers http://aoir.org
>Subscribe, change options or unsubscribe at: 
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Conference Co-Chair, CCA 2007
Professeur, École des médias, Faculté de communication, UQAM
Codirecteur, Groupe de recherche interdisciplinaire sur la communication,
l'information et la société (GRICIS) / http://www.uqam.ca/gricis

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