Culture and Economy in the Age of Social Media
Routledge – 2015 – 418 pages
Understanding social media requires us to engage with the individual and collective meanings that diverse stakeholders and participants give to platforms. It also requires us to analyse how social media companies try to make profits, how and which labour creates this profit, who creates social media ideologies, and the conditions under which such ideologies emerge. In short, understanding social media means coming to grips with the relationship between culture and the economy. In this thorough study, Christian Fuchs, one of the leading analysts of the Internet and social media, delves deeply into the subject by applying the approach of cultural materialism to social media, offering readers theoretical concepts, contemporary examples, and proposed opportunities for political intervention.
Culture and Economy in the Age of Social Media is the ultimate resource for anyone who wants to understand culture and the economy in an era populated by social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Google in the West and Weibo, Renren, and Baidu in the East. Updating the analysis of thinkers such as Raymond Williams, Karl Marx, Ferruccio Rossi-Landi, and Dallas W. Smythe for the 21st century, Fuchs presents a version of Marxist cultural theory and cultural materialism that allows us to critically understand social media’s influence on culture and the economy.
"This book is a tour de force. Drawing on a comprehensive re-reading of Marx and critical theory, Christian Fuchs demonstrates how everyday activity on social media is integral to the system of global exploitation that is restructuring contemporary capitalism. His powerful critique of the promotional rhetorics surrounding the Internet and his call for action deserves to be read and debated by anyone seriously interested in the future directions of economic and cultural life." —Graham Murdock, Professor of Culture and Economy, Loughborough University
"Drawing inspiration from Raymond Williams and Dallas Smythe, Christian Fuchs turns his critical eye and formidable talents to the deep connections between culture and economy in the age of social media. Rich in conceptual insights and supported with prodigious empirical detail covering labour and consumption in the West and in China, Culture and Economy in the Age of Social Media points the way to how we might retake public control of the digital world." —Vincent Mosco, author of To the Cloud: Big Data in a Turbulent World
"Christian Fuchs’s excellent book demonstrates why social media must be analysed critically as both an economic and a cultural phenomenon, unlike the conservatism of idealist social science, which has much to say about communication yet is silent about the materiality of communications." —Jim McGuigan, author of Cool Capitalism
1. Introduction Part I: Theoretical Foundations 2. Culture and Work (with Marisol Sandoval) 3. Communication, Ideology and Labour Part II: Social Media’s Cultural Political Economy of Time 4. Social Media and Labour Time 5. Social Media and Productive Labour Part III: Social Media’s Cultural Political Economy of Global Space 6. Social Media’s International Division of Digital Labour 7. Baidu, Weibo and Renren: The Global Political Economy of Social Media in China Part IV: Alternatives 8. Social Media and the Public Sphere 9. Conclusion
Christian Fuchs is Professor of Social Media at the University of Westminster. He is author of Social Media: A Critical Introduction (Sage, 2014), Digital Labour and Karl Marx (Routledge, 2014), Foundations of Critical Media and Information Studies (Routledge, 2011), and Internet and Society: Social Theory in the Information Age (Routledge, 2008).