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.
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).
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