WEB 2.0: THE INDUSTRY OF PARTICIPATION: An Actor-Network Theory Account of Myspace in the Case of Underground Music

Rossi, Camilla (2010) WEB 2.0: THE INDUSTRY OF PARTICIPATION: An Actor-Network Theory Account of Myspace in the Case of Underground Music. PhD thesis, University of Trento.

PDF - Doctoral Thesis


Since the contested label of “Web 2.0” was put forward in 2004, the hype and buzz around it spread enormously both on a media and academic level. In particular, literature on Web 2.0 and its tools is often either driven by deterministic assumptions, or presents partial accounts of the issue. Indeed, many discourses surrounding Web 2.0 embed “narratives of inevitability and technological determinism” (Bigge, 2006: 1) and belong to a long history of studies on the web and networked communication technologies that often have claimed a “revolutionary” role of the next new medium, a history that usually saw the failure of those claims, which should be challenged once and for all. However, many critical studies that would be expected to debunk the “dominant rhetorics” of Web 2.0 in fact partially accomplish the mission, since they often fail to properly account for all the aspects of Web 2.0. I will propose a "theoretical remediation" (Beer, 2008) by adopting the theoretical framework of Science and Technology Studies, and in particular, the perspective of Actor-Network Theory (ANT). Within this framework and perspective, I will investigate in my study of the Social Networking Site Myspace and some of its underground music-related users whether and how the alleged processes of democratization, user empowerment and active participation can be retrieved. I carried out my study with the methodology of cyberethnography, and, more specifically with participant observation and in-depth interviews. I conclude by highlighting how, in light of my work, Web 2.0 could be properly called "the industry of participation", for highlighting how user participation is not completely voluntary and aware, but instead, embedded into business processes. Also, a “missing democratization” emerged from my research.

Item Type:Doctoral Thesis (PhD)
Doctoral School:Sociology and Social Research (within the School in Social Sciences, till the a.y. 2010-11)
PhD Cycle:XXII
Subjects:Area 14 - Scienze politiche e sociali
Repository Staff approval on:27 Apr 2010 16:54

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