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  • Beyond ‘Collaborative Economy’ Discourse: Present, Past and Potential of Digital Intermediation Platforms

    Jacob T. Matthews

    Chapter from the book: Graham J. & Gandini A. 2017. Collaborative Production in the Creative Industries.


    This paper draws from research carried out since the mid-2000s on the evolution of culture industries and the hypothesis of structural and ideological systemisation. The ‘creative turn’, as well as increasing ties between the culture industries and other economic sectors are emblematic of this shift. With the emergence of what has successively been dubbed ‘web 2.0’ or ‘social media’, the ‘collaborative economy’ discourse is currently mobilised by platforms operating within diverse fields: cultural crowdfunding and crowdsourcing, content aggregation, advertising and marketing, on-line dating, car-pooling, ethical commerce and alternative finance, etc. Firstly, the paper aims to define two key concepts: ‘digital intermediation’ and the ‘collaborative’ character of these activities. Web platforms arguably occupy intermediary positions between (creative) workers, individual user-consumers, institutional financers, corporate brands / advertisers, public bodies, NGOs and charitable organizations, endeavoring to bring these different partners together around a ‘common language’. They appear to extract value by hosting multi-sided markets, allowing exploitation of both cultural labour and audience labour. Secondly, the paper discusses several theoretical propositions challenging conceptions of cultural capitalisation and production as usually mobilised within the political economy of culture industries. This in turn leads us to address the broader question of potential changes in relations of production within these industries, and that of the material effectivity of ‘collaborative economy’ discourse.

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    How to cite this chapter
    Matthews, J. 2017. Beyond ‘Collaborative Economy’ Discourse: Present, Past and Potential of Digital Intermediation Platforms. In: Graham J. & Gandini A (eds.), Collaborative Production in the Creative Industries. London: University of Westminster Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.16997/book4.c

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    Published on June 29, 2017