Cumming to terms with communicative capitalism

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Paper presented at the 40th World Congress of the International Institute of Sociology, New Delhi, India, 16-19 February, 2012.

Paper presented at the 40th World Congress of the International Institute of Sociology, New Delhi, India, 16-19 February, 2012.

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  • 1. ”Cumming” to Terms withCommunicative Capitalism Dr Martin Berg Halmstad University / Good Old martin.berg@hh.se
  • 2. Who’s talking?Martin BergPhD in Sociology 2008, Lund University, SwedenSenior Lecturer in Sociology, Halmstad University,Sweden(Corporate) Senior Researcher at the digital agencyGood Old with financial support from the Bank ofSweden Tercentenary Foundation (3 year post-doctoral research project on online sociability)
  • 3. C’licking the otherSocial interaction and bodily practices oncam4.com: ”the largest worldwide webcamcommunity”Some introductory notes from my observations:”4000 buttplug (doesnt all go in), 5000 cum, tip furtherif u want tnx ^^””such a fine boy! Wow!” / ”over 5000 About time to cum!”
  • 4. Aim and scopeAnalysis of various forms of social interaction oncam4.com by placing certain emphasis on the digitallymediated setting as a structured social space inwhich the user interface renders certain socialpatterns and communicative actions intelligible.An account of the social web that does not avoid thecarnal, vulgar and filthy aspects of social lifeThe user interface and the forms of interaction oncam4.com are situated in a wider societal context
  • 5. Cam4: a closer look ”[N]ot just a webcam site, its a whole open sexual social community, where most importantly you can always be yourself and get tipped for that”
  • 6. Development of the internetThis particular kind of online amateur pornographyneeds to be situated in the mode of socialorganisation that characterises the internet of todayTwo undertheorised aspects of the internet: 1) onlinespace is not so o en theorised as a ”space” anymore,and 2) the relationship between online interaction andlate modernity is seldom discussed
  • 7. Porn 2.0Online pornography is o en rendered invisible inonline metrics and interpretations of the social webWatching porn is a question of physically clicking,scrolling, wanking and flickering through bodies ondisplay, and not so much about fantasmagoricencounters in a virtual La-La landThe interface as a ”space of public privacy” and offersa distanced intimacy
  • 8. The interfaceThe body occupies a central position in the interface:it is the very focus of activity as well as the object ofsocial interaction.Interpassivity rather than interactivity: the interfaceseems to facilitate a ”sense of being active throughanother subject who does the job for me” /ŽižekMicropayments as a means for partaking in the showwithout any significant effort: it is a way to inscribeoneself in the plot that is revealing on screen
  • 9. Communicative capitalismCommunicative capitalism is that ”economic-ideological form wherein reflexivity capturescreativity and resistance” /DeanProcesses of reflexivity become particularly clearwhen transferred to online sociabilityThe relationship between the individual and thegeneralised other has become fundamentallycorrupt in communicative capitalism.
  • 10. Concluding remarksCumming to terms with communicative capitalismis a question of symbolic and structural alignment:certain desires are installed by the socio-culturalcontext and enacted through the interfaceThe specific context on cam4.com blurs theboundaries between private and public: we enjoyfor ourselves among others; we are private in publicMoney and micropayments provide a dual sense ofintimacy