The purpose of this paper is to examine the manner in which advocates of crowdsourcing reconfigure the classical sociological treatment of the crowd.
The approach taken conceives of the semantics of crowd theorizing in three phases, each of which makes sense of the power dynamics between the elite and the crowd. In phases one and two, the crowd is conceptualized as a problem generator; in phase three, the crowd is depicted as a problem solver and innovator.
This paper provides a critical look at phase three crowd theorizing. It explores how, by ignoring the disruptive power dynamic, crowdsourcing generates a credible image of the crowd as an innovator and problem solver. The work concludes with a discussion of the implications of phase three crowd theorizing for researchers in sociology.
Advocates of the wisdom of crowds, if interested in the sociological implications of their position, must attend to both the disruptive and costly implications of third phase crowd theorizing.
This paper maps the crowdsourcing process and places it in context. It argues that the distance between the classical social scientific treatment of the crowd is not nearly as great as crowdsourcing advocates would have one believe. Nevertheless, phase three crowd theorizing opens up sociologically relevant questions regarding the future portrayal of collective intelligence as a form of virtual property.
Wexler, M.N. (2011), "Reconfiguring the sociology of the crowd: exploring crowdsourcing", International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Vol. 31 No. 1/2, pp. 6-20. https://doi.org/10.1108/01443331111104779Download as .RIS
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited