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Matchmakers or tastemakers? Platformization of cultural intermediation & social media’s engines for ‘making up taste’

Kaparoglu, Zeynep (2018) Matchmakers or tastemakers? Platformization of cultural intermediation & social media’s engines for ‘making up taste’. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Identification Number: 10.21953/lse.00004194


There are long-standing practices and processes that have traditionally mediated between the processes of production and consumption of cultural content. The prominent instances of these are: curating content by identifying and selecting cultural content in order to promote to a particular set of audiences; measuring audience behaviours to construct knowledge about their tastes; and guiding audiences through recommendations from cultural experts. These cultural intermediation processes are currently being transformed, and social media platforms play important roles in this transformation. However, their role is often attributed to the work of users and/or recommendation algorithms. Thus, the processes through which data about users’ taste are aggregated and made ready for algorithmic processing are largely neglected. This study takes this problematic as an important gap in our understanding of social media platforms’ role in the transformation of cultural intermediation. To address this gap, the notion of platformization is used as a theoretical lens to examine the role of users and algorithms as part of social media’s distinct data-based sociotechnical configuration, which is built on the so-called ‘platform-logic’. Based on a set of conceptual ideas and the findings derived through a single case study on a music discovery platform, this thesis developed a framework to explain ‘platformization of cultural intermediation’. This framework outlines how curation, guidance, and measurement processes are ‘plat-formed’ in the course of development and optimisation of a social media platform. This is the main contribution of the thesis. The study also contributes to the literature by developing the concept of social media’s engines for ‘making up taste’. This concept illuminates how social media operate as sociotechnical cultural intermediaries and participates in tastemaking in ways that acquire legitimacy from the long-standing trust in the objectivity of classification, quantification, and measurement processes.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2018 Zeynep Kaparoglu
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
T Technology > T Technology (General)
Z Bibliography. Library Science. Information Resources > ZA Information resources > ZA4450 Databases
Sets: Departments > Management

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