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Off the NetworkDisrupting the Digital World$
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Ulises Ali Mejias

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780816678990

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816678990.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM MINNESOTA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.minnesota.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Minnesota Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MNSO for personal use.date: 27 February 2020

The Privatization of Social Life

The Privatization of Social Life

(p.19) 2 The Privatization of Social Life
Off the Network

Ulises Ali Mejias

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter examines the political economy of networks and the process of commodification that allows them to increase participation while also increasing inequality. Digital networks are not different from other for-profit media systems in the patterns of ownership conglomeration they exhibit, to the extent that these corporations strive to eliminate competition in order to acquire larger audiences. The chapter then proposes that monopsony has emerged as the dominant market structure in the era of user-generated content. A critique of participatory culture is applied that presents it as both a form of pleasure and a form of violence that subordinates the social to economic interests.

Keywords:   political economy, commodification, participation, inequality, digital networks, monopsony, participatory culture

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