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Cultural mediators and the everyday making of ‘digital capital’ in contemporary Chile

Arriagada, Arturo (2014) Cultural mediators and the everyday making of ‘digital capital’ in contemporary Chile. PhD thesis, The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

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Abstract

This thesis studies processes of cultural mediation and the role of digital media within them. It is based on the experiences of a group of cultural mediators within a particular music scene in contemporary Chile, and focuses on actors’ meaningful repertoires of action, their material arrangements and their relation with information and communication technologies (ICTs). ‘Mediation’ in a broader sense means processes through which human and non-human agencies produce and shape meanings, attaching them to various cultural flows such as information, images, and identities. As cultural mediators, actors define the music scene, curating and circulating through digital media various flows which they deem worthy of being considered by audiences, and distinguishing themselves across different fields. The thesis is based on nine months of fieldwork (2011) in Santiago, following the everyday practices of the creators of eight music websites through which global and local cultural flows are mediated, organised, and circulated. It analyses how various technological devices facilitate individuals’ construction of networks where cultural flows circulate, and through which their uses of taste are displayed and objectified. It proposes the concept of ‘digital capital’ as an assemblage of actors, practices, objects, and meanings, which is convertible into other types of capital (e.g. economic) and exchangeable in various fields. It is a mode of practice and expertise through which, using digital technologies, individuals create networks where cultural flows circulate. Through the making of websites, music fans become cultural mediators, developing their digital capital as cultural and technical expertise. This expertise is convertible into economic capital and positionality across different fields, especially the field of advertising. Digital capital can be summarised in the question: ‘what are the connections and associations between technical knowledge, cultural flows, and social position, as well as conversions of capital, behind someone who is using Twitter or Facebook, or making a website about a music scene?’ Against this backdrop, it is explored how actors produce and perform ‘cultures of mediation’, commoditising culture as consumption goods.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2014 Arturo Arriagada
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HE Transportation and Communications
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Z Bibliography. Library Science. Information Resources > ZA Information resources > ZA4050 Electronic information resources
Sets: Departments > Sociology
Supervisor: Slater, Don
URI: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/913

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