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Profit and Gift in the Digital Economy

Cambridge University Press (2016)

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  1. ‘Materially Social’ Critical Realism: An Interview with Dave Elder-Vass.Dave Elder-Vass & Jamie Morgan - 2022 - Journal of Critical Realism 21 (2):211-246.
    In this wide-ranging interview, Dave Elder-Vass discusses his main contributions to critical realist theory over two decades. In the first half, he explains his early work on emergence, agency, str...
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  • This is a Handcraft: Valuation, Morality, and the Social Meanings of Payments for Psychoanalysis.Daniel Fridman - 2022 - Theory and Society 51 (1):1-29.
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  • Risk, Innovation, and Democracy in the Digital Economy.Dean Curran - 2018 - European Journal of Social Theory 21 (2):207-226.
    The study of digital economies and the sociology of risk have, with few exceptions, a relationship of benign mutual neglect despite possible important connections between the two. This article aims to bridge the gap between these two fields using Beck’s theory of risk society to explore how the digital economy’s momentum of innovation is generating risks and limiting the scope of existing democratic decision-making via the power of the digital economy to create social faits accomplis outside of democratic control. Three (...)
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  • Lifeworld and Systems in the Digital Economy.Dave Elder-Vass - 2018 - European Journal of Social Theory 21 (2):227-244.
    The digital economy has provided opportunities for new forms of economic practice. At their purest, these forms deliver economic benefits as gifts and depend on cooperation without authority. Drawing loosely on Habermas, we may call this a lifeworld economy – an economy that is coordinated by communicative interaction – as opposed to the systems economy of market and state, coordinated by money and power. This formulation, however, faces both theoretical and practical challenges. On the theoretical side, the notion of a (...)
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  • Terms of Reference: The Moral Economy of Reputation in a Sharing Economy Platform.Karolina Mikołajewska-Zając - 2018 - European Journal of Social Theory 21 (2):148-168.
    Reputation is often seen as central to the coordination of transactions in sharing economy platforms. Participants perform a double role regarding reputation management: while engaging in exchanges with other peers, they build their individual ‘reputation capital’ and simultaneously execute community oversight. In Couchsurfing, a network often cited as paradigmatic of the sharing economy, there is, however, a clear bias for positive references. In the digital economy literature, participants’ friendly behaviour is understood as motivated by self-interest and an incentive to maintain (...)
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  • The Moral Economy of Open Access.Chris Muellerleile & Jana Bacevic - 2018 - European Journal of Social Theory 21 (2):169-188.
    Digital technologies have made access to and profit from scientific publications hotly contested issues. Debates over open access, however, rarely extend from questions of distribution to questions of how OA is transforming the politics of academic knowledge production. This article argues that the movement towards OA rests on a relatively stable moral episteme that positions different actors involved in the economy of OA, and most importantly, knowledge itself. The analysis disentangles the ontological and moral side of these claims, showing how (...)
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  • A Maussian Bargain: Accumulation by Gift in the Digital Economy.Daniel N. Kluttz & Marion Fourcade - 2020 - Big Data and Society 7 (1).
    The harvesting of data about people, organizations, and things and their transformation into a form of capital is often described as a process of “accumulation by dispossession,” a pervasive loss of rights buttressed by predatory practices and legal violence. Yet this argument does not square well with the fact that enrollment into digital systems is often experienced as a much more benign process: signing up for a “free” service, responding to a “friend’s” invitation, or being encouraged to “share” content. In (...)
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  • Knowledge as a Fictitious Commodity: A Polanyian Reading of the 'Digital Economy'.Antonino Palumbo - 2020 - International Journal of Political Theory 4 (1):9-31.
    Since the 2008 financial crisis, the attempts to use Karl Polanyi's framework to make sense of current developments have multiplied, producing a noticeable and lively debate. This debate centres on the notion of double movement put forward by the Hungarian thinker in his masterpiece – The Great Transformation. The paper is a contribution to this debate. The first part addresses a series of questions that make the interpretations of the double movement advanced so far not very compelling. To this end, (...)
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  • Moral Economy and Emancipation.Howard Richards - 2020 - Journal of Critical Realism 19 (2):146-158.
    Andrew Sayer and Dave Elder-Vass are both advocates of ‘moral economy’. To this end, Elder-Vass offers a theory of appropriative practices that enables us to evaluate the enormous variety of forms...
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  • Cultural Wantons of the New Millennium.Margaret S. Archer - 2020 - Journal of Critical Realism 19 (4):314-328.
    In Culture and Agency, I distinguished between the ‘Cultural System', namely all items logged into the universal cultural archive, and ‘Socio-Cultural' interaction, na...
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  • Moral Economies of the Digital.Dave Elder-Vass - 2018 - European Journal of Social Theory 21 (2):141-147.
    Within thirty years of first appearing, the networked digital economy has spread its tentacles into the lives of half the population of the world, and transformed the balance of power in the commercial economy. Social theory has been slow to recognize the significance and scale of these developments, and this special issue is a contribution to redressing the balance. It is organized around the concept of moral economies: the values and norms that underpin and shape our participation in larger economic (...)
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  • Cryptomarkets as a Libertarian Counter-Conduct of Resistance.Nikos Sotirakopoulos - 2018 - European Journal of Social Theory 21 (2):189-206.
    Cryptomarkets function as self-regulating forms of governance, close to what Hayek would describe as a spontaneous order. At the same time, in cases like the online market Silk Road, they construct an identity that portrays their illegal activities as operating within a framework of individual rights and voluntary transactions. As has already been examined in the wider literature, the political and economic philosophy of libertarianism has been mobilized by participants in such markets in order to provide a moral theoretical background (...)
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