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Digitally mediated social ties and achieving recognition in the field of creative and cultural production: unravelling the online social networking mystery

Reyes Acosta, Cornelia (2016) Digitally mediated social ties and achieving recognition in the field of creative and cultural production: unravelling the online social networking mystery. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Identification Number: 10.21953/lse.93ay613wc96j


Career paths in the field of cultural and creative production and the attainment of recognition have been associated with networking and point at the relevance of maintaining social relationships. Social capital has been discussed as one key element, given the fact that forming social relations with significant others potentially aids individuals striving for symbolic capital – the precursor to recognition. The emergence of online social networking platforms as a means to amplify opportunities to build social relationships raises questions in regards to its impact on building social capital. The key question that arises is: To what extent can digitally mediated social relationships support creative professionals in attaining recognition for their work by capitalising on digitally mediated social ties? To answer this, it was necessary to uncover the nature of digitally mediated social relatedness in order to understand how and why these relations may be eligible to produce social capital. Tracing this process through drawings of personal networks elicited a wealth of narratives around the influence of digitally mediated social interaction on symbolic capital. This thesis identified that accessing social capital resources via digitally mediated social interaction operates within the context of two prime factors: risk and trust. As such, digitally mediated social ties are useful for building social capital. However, this holds primarily in contexts where risk is relatively low and therefore the required level of trust is marginal. The relevance of digitally mediated social ties in building social capital is thus largely context driven, whereby the individual circumstances of creative professionals are crucial. My findings highlight the ambivalent nature of digitally mediated social ties in terms of their conceptualisation as a form of social relationship. Interestingly, while being highly volatile and fluctuating in nature, these liquid ties, as I have labelled them in my thesis, do afford access to resources such as trust that have hitherto been primarily associated with strong social ties. Essentially, this challenges the prime conceptualisation of social capital as an affordance of strong, established social relationships in the formation of symbolic capital. Therefore, I make a case for a more nuanced approach to (mediated) social capital, which conceptualises the relevance of the social tie in light of its affordance, rather than its formal quality.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2016 Cornelia Reyes Acosta
Library of Congress subject classification: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1990 Broadcasting
Sets: Departments > Media and Communications
Supervisor: Cammaerts, Bart and Helsper, Ellen

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