Logo
Logo

Goldsmiths - University of London

Capital experimentation with person/a formation: how Facebook's monetization refigures the relationship between property, personhood and protest

Skeggs, Bev and Yuill, Simon. 2015. Capital experimentation with person/a formation: how Facebook's monetization refigures the relationship between property, personhood and protest. Information Communication and Society, pp. 380-396. ISSN 1369-118X [Article]

[img] Text (Capital experimentation with person/a formation)
ICS personhood and protest sent with full author details.docx - Submitted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.

Download (544kB)

Abstract or Description

This article examines the conditions of possibility for protest that are shaped when we open our browsers and are immediately tracked by Facebook. It points to the significance of tracking in the making of contemporary personhood showing how the relationship between property and personhood is being currently reconfigured as Facebook experiments with ways to accrue maximum profit. It outlines in detail the different ways by which Facebook operates financially, arguing that it is better understood as a powerful advertising oligopoly that lubricates the circulation of capital rather than just as a social network. By charting the movement from the liberal ‘possessive individual’, to the neo-liberal ‘subject of value' into the present disaggregated ‘dividual', it reveals inherent contradictions as Facebook builds its financializing and monetizing capacity. We show how the contemporary neo-liberal imperative to perform and authorize one's value in public is more likely to produce a curated persona rather than the ‘authentic’ self-demanded by Facebook, making accurate dividuation more difficult to achieve. We draw on our research project funded by Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), UK, on the relationship between values and value, which uses custom-built software to track Facebook's tracking. Our research revealed how Facebook drew clear distinctions between high net worth users and the remainder, making the protesting bourgeois ‘subject of value’ much more likely to be subject to expropriation. We ask: what does it mean if the communicative networks for protest are just another opportunity for profit making and lubricating financialization?

Item Type: Article

Identification Number (DOI):

10.1080/1369118X.2015.1111403

Keywords:

Facebook, software, personhood, protest, monetization, labour

Related URLs:

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Sociology

Dates:

DateEvent
19 October 2015Accepted
13 November 2015Published

Item ID:

15083

Date Deposited:

29 Nov 2015 20:41

Last Modified:

07 Jul 2017 12:46

URI: http://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/15083

View statistics for this item...

Edit Record Edit Record (login required)