TitleThe mutation of cultural values, popularity, and aesthetic tastes in the age of convergence culture
NameSuhr, Hiesun Cecilia (author), Bratich, Jack (chair), Keith, Susan (internal member), Pavlik, John (internal member), Hesmondhalgh, David (outside member), Rutgers University, Graduate School - New Brunswick,
SubjectCommunication, Information and Library Studies,
Mass media and technology,
Music and technology,
DescriptionThis dissertation examines cultural production in an age of digital media and convergence. It focuses on how musicians, by exerting immaterial and affective labor, use social media websites to gain popularity and increase their music’s value. Within the larger context of convergence culture, in which old and new media collide, this dissertation focuses on four websites as case studies (myspace.com, youtube.com, secondlife.com, and indabamusic.com), analyzing them via four key terms ("social protocols," "cultural intermediaries," "labor," and "self-promotion").
Broadly speaking, this dissertation analyzes various binary tensions that are symptomatic of a convergence culture context, such as commerce vs. creativity, competition vs. collaboration and empowerment vs. exploitation. These tensions exist unequally, creating an oscillating relationship. This dissertation, by assessing the resulting paradoxes, highlights the different dynamics of power at play on the social networking sites. Thus, this study introduces and assesses the emerging protocols on the social networking sites, the expanded role of cultural intermediaries in the social network, and the manner in which musicians engage in self-promotion.
After introductory and literature review chapters, chapter three investigates Myspace users' attempts to gain popularity. The chapter examines various protocols both in online interactions as well as in the consumption of "how-to-succeed" manuals. Chapter Four analyzes the laboring practices and music competitions on Youtube, and conceptualizes the website’s emerging norms of popularity and their impact on signed and unsigned musicians. The fifth chapter, devoted to Secondlife, sheds light on the role played by live performances, a dimension not typically a part of other social networking sites. The sixth chapter on Indabamusic explores the manner in which collaborative and competitive activities reconstitutes the complex relationship between mainstream and grassroots convergence forces. As a whole, this dissertation examines new developments in the formulation of cultural values, and evaluates a landscape in which the commodification of the self and the notion of popularity complicate the purportedly democratic nature of convergence culture and social media sites.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references (p. 232-251)
Noteby Hiesun Cecilia Suhr
CollectionGraduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.