Behind the veils of discourse: Analysing the connection between discourse and exploitation on the ‘social’internet

Behind the veils of discourse: Analysing the connection between discourse and exploitation on the ‘social’internet
LEL Gjerde
9/21/19 10:35
Capital & Class
In this article, I discuss the connection between discursive and social practice on the so-called ‘social’ internet. While the economic significance of platform capitalism grows, the discourse which constitutes these platforms as the substrate of the ‘social’ internet remains largely unquestioned. I will argue that economic realities are obscured by the social frames of interpretation which dominate our understanding of the internet. I will show how the internet is dominated by this naturalized discourse which I name ‘sociodigital’. Whether the internet may best be described in social terms or not is a question outside of the scope of this text. Rather, I will analyse how exploitation is veiled by this myth of the ‘social’ internet. The importance of this lies in unveiling hidden exploitation in an era where economic inequalities are increasing both rapidly and globally while simultaneously, the importance of ‘softer’ linguistic power increases. This makes discourse analysis important to reveal hidden power relations. I will argue that the users of ‘social’ media are exploited through their production of content, as this generates profits for the capitalist. This exploitation is however both veiled and increased by the discourse, which thus functions ideologically. Therefore, I will wield critical discourse analysis to unravel how the myth of the ‘social’ internet suppresses the economic consequences of exploitation.
https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0309816819873377
S6.M7

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