Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
RS01_05a_P: (Un)Making Capitalism 2: The Critique of Digital Capitalism's Political Economy
Thursday, 31/Aug/2017:
11:00am - 12:30pm

Session Chair: Laura Horn, Roskilde Universitet
Location: PD.4.37
PANTEION University of Social & Political Sciences 136 Syggrou Avenue 17671 Athens, Greece Building: D, Level: 4.

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Targeted Advertising and the Deception of Users

Bahar Ayaz1, Kamile Elmasoğlu2

1Gazi university, Turkey; 2Gazi university, Turkey

Social media is a vehicle that makes profit for powerful groups in society, causing capitalism to become even stronger. One of the important pillars of this is advertisements. With targeted advertising, new products are being marketed to social media users on an ongoing basis. Targeted advertisement benefits from multiple scientific disciplines that provide knowledge and information about the personal features and preferences of the individual users. Capitalism can create individual differences through the internet media and have control over these differences. In this sense, what individuals perceive as liberty is actually something needed by capitalists for making profit. It is much easier for the media owners to reach the sale success by these targeted ads, which are created on the bases of users’ likes and the pages they visit. Within this study, it will be discussed how targeted advertising strengthens capitalism by discussing different targeted advertisement examples and practices of different companies.

New Fictitious Commodities in the Capitalism of Networks and Flows

Dmitry Ivanov

St.Petersburg state university, Russian Federation

The recent expansion of capitalism to new areas and levels of commodification demonstrates both relevance of Karl Polanyi’s classical concept of fictitious commodities and necessity of its extension. Now postindustrial commodification is extended to elements of consumption – images and time. They also are not ‘things produced for market’ but become sources of capitalist accumulation as consumers are constructing their sociocultural identities with use of brands and trendy goods.

The first wave of postindustrialization has resulted not in the ‘information society’ based on knowledge-intensive production but in virtualization of society based on an image-intensive consumption. Virtualization here means replacement of things and real actions by images and communications. People’s social life since the late 20th century is immersed in virtual realities of branding, image making, and communications through digital media. Commodification of images takes form of branding that generates enormous market value in current economy.

The second wave of postindustrialization is related to the shift from logic of virtualization towards a logic of glamour. Glam-capitalism becomes a next phase of postindustrial economy as producers in hyper-competitive markets have to glamour consumers and products must be aggressively beautiful to be attractive for targeted groups. Market value generated by trends is accumulated in flow structures, which penetrate institutional boundaries and allow glam-capitalists and glam-professionals to exploit enthusiasm of consumers involved into the trendy communities. Counter-movements like ‘copy left’ and ‘pirates’ violating ‘intellectual’ property rights challenge regime of glam-capitalism. Counter-movements challenge the glam-capitalism not only in economic domain but in politics and culture as well. N

For a sociology that matters: the role of interdisciplinary action research to remake Europe

Maurizio Teli1, Chiara Bassetti2, Mariacristina Sciannamblo2

1Madeira Interactive Technologies Institute, Portugal; 2University of Trento, Italy

We would like to attend the conference’s main questions by presenting the relations between theory, subjectivities, and research practice in an action research project called ‘PIE News’. In particular, we intend to discuss how the project can provide a valuable contribution for envisioning how and where a sociology that matters can evolve. PIE News addresses the contradictions of platform capitalism (Bauwens, 2009) by reconsidering the relations between labor and social cooperation on digital platforms (Fuchs, 2013). The project is rooted in the critique of social media platforms that change over time to extract more and more economic value from social cooperation of unpaid subjects (van Dijck, 2013), thereby leading to “accumulation by dispossession” (Harvey, 2014).

As action research, PIE News aims to contrast poverty and social exclusion by creating a digital platform,, involving several actors in Croatia, Italy, and The Netherlands (bottom-up organizations, social sciences researchers, hackers, and ICT research institutions with an interdisciplinary profile). The platform will allow people and social groups to be informed and to inform through storytelling about available welfare measures and grassroots initiatives, and to find support in networking activities able to bring use value to their everyday life. The overarching ambition is to foster the emergence of the Commonfare (Fumagalli, 2015), a form of welfare based on grassroots initiatives and equitable democracy that promotes social solidarity.

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