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Media TechnologiesEssays on Communication, Materiality, and Society$
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Tarleton Gillespie, Pablo J. Boczkowski, and Kirsten A. Foot

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780262525374

Published to University Press Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262525374.001.0001

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date: 30 May 2020

Identifying the Interests of Digital Users as Audiences, Consumers, Workers, and Publics

Identifying the Interests of Digital Users as Audiences, Consumers, Workers, and Publics

Chapter:
(p.241) 12 Identifying the Interests of Digital Users as Audiences, Consumers, Workers, and Publics
Source:
Media Technologies
Author(s):

Sonia Livingstone

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262525374.003.0012

The design, operation and accessibility of any text and technology imagines or anticipates its users and their practices of usage in particular, though this is often implicit. Similarly, critics of the relations among communication technologies, social practices, and institutions of power also imagine the digital user in particular ways. This essay examines the implied user in the essays by Greg Downey, Tarleton Gillespie, Chris Kelty and Steven Jackson to reveal the diverse, even competing conceptions of users – as audiences, consumers, workers (or the proletariat), publics or citizens, even users as carers, as representative of a humanistic ethic. How users, and the interests at stake (cultural, economic, political, ethical) in their practices of technology use, are imagined has implications for the nature of communication power and, arguably, for the tactics by which it may be resisted.

Keywords:   digital user, implied user, publics, citizens, communication power, tactics of resistance

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