Digital audiences' disempowerment: Participation or free labour

Lucia Vesnić Alujević, Maria Francesca Murru

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The appearance of digital interactive technologies opened up space where the audiences can express themselves freely through the user generated content. Often these new possibilities have been associated with the concepts of ‘ participation ’ and ‘ empowermen t ’ on one side, and ‘ free labour ’ and ‘ exploitation ’ on the other. Through literature published during the past decade, this paper explores the relationship, tensions and connections between different perspectives of cultural studies and political econom y on these phenomena. In some places this relationship is explained more directly, in the others indirectly. While the cultural studies perspective considers media users as active and productive, the political economy perspective looks at the audience ’ s ac tivities as producing profit for media industries. As both perspectives are important and interlaced in audiences ’ experiences, this essay argues that there is a need for more studies that will try to build bridges between participation and labour. This brings novelties and openings in the area of intersection of cultural studies and political economy.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)422-430
Numero di pagine9
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2016


  • labor
  • participation
  • political economy


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