Disassembling Platforms, Reassembling Sociality

José van Dijck

in The Culture of Connectivity

Published in print January 2013 | ISBN: 9780199970773
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199307425 | DOI:
Disassembling Platforms, Reassembling Sociality

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This book theorizes social media platforms as distinct microsystems that together form an ecosystem of connective media. To capture the interdependence and interoperability between microsystems and ecosystem, Chapter 2 introduces a multi-layered model, which helps analyze the history of a complex phenomenon. Two theoretical approaches that inspired this book, actor-network theory (Latour) and political economy (Castells), offer valid perspectives on the transformation of technology and society, and their combination informs the design of a heuristic model. The proposed model takes apart single platforms into their techno-cultural components (coding technologies, users, and content) and their socio-economic elements (ownership status, governance, business models). But disassembling platforms is not enough: we also need to reassemble the ecosystem of interoperating platforms in order to recognize which norms and mechanisms undergird the construction of online sociality and creativity. A connective approach can only succeed if we take into account the larger cultural matrix in which this assemblage emerged.

Keywords: actor-network theory; political economy; sociotechnical ensemble; media ecosystem; cultural theory

Chapter.  8293 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Sociology

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