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Applying Bourdieu to socio-technical systems: The importance of affordances for social translucence in building 'capital' and status to eBay's success

Ellis, Rebecca (2008) Applying Bourdieu to socio-technical systems: The importance of affordances for social translucence in building 'capital' and status to eBay's success. Working Paper. Technology and Social Change Research Centre (TaSC) Working Paper 2008-03, University of Essex, Colchester, UK.

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Abstract

This paper introduces the work of Sociologist Pierre Bourdieu and his concepts of ‘the field’ and ‘capital’ in relation to eBay. This paper considers eBay to be a socio-technical system with its own set of social norms, rules and competition over ‘capital’. eBay is used as a case study of the importance of using a Bourdieuean approach to create successful socio-technical systems.Using a two-year qualitative study of eBay users as empirical illustration, this paper argues that a large part of eBay’s success is in the social and cultural affordances for social translucence and navigation of eBay’s website - in supporting the Bourdieuean competition over capital and status. This exploration has implications for wider socio-technical systems design which this paper will discuss - in particular, the importance of creating socially translucent and navigable systems, informed by Bourdieu’s theoretical insights, which support competition for ‘capital’ and status.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: eBay; Bourdieu; capital; socio-technical systems; status; social translucence
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology, Department of
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 15 Mar 2012 16:35
Last Modified: 15 Mar 2012 16:35
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/2306

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