Cultural intermediaries define the standards many consumers use when evaluating cultural products. Yet, little research has focused on whether cultural intermediaries may…
Cultural intermediaries define the standards many consumers use when evaluating cultural products. Yet, little research has focused on whether cultural intermediaries may systematically differ from each other with regard to the standards they emphasize. The purpose of this paper is to build on Bourdieu’s theory of cultural production to examine how the type of subfield reviewed and/or the cultural intermediary’s expertise (or “field-specific cultural capital”) affect the standards an intermediary uses.
This paper employed a computer-aided content analysis of the full corpus of “Rolling Stone” music album reviews (1967-2014).
Critics with lower field-specific cultural capital reflect the same logic as the subfield they are critiquing. Critics with higher field-specific cultural capital reflect the opposite logic.
Bourdieu was ambivalent about whether cultural intermediaries will reflect the logic of a subfield. Results show that the answer depends on the intermediary’s field-specific cultural capital. The results also reinforce previous findings that individuals with high field-specific cultural capital are more likely to break with the logic of a field.
Not all intermediaries are created equal. Producers and consumers who rely on cultural intermediaries should understand the intermediary’s critical analysis within the context of his/her experience.
This is one of the first studies to examine how a cultural intermediary’s field-specific cultural capital impacts his or her work. The findings are based on a large review sample and include reviewers’ analyses as they developed from having lower to higher field-specific cultural capital.
Through an empirical analysis of a consumption community, the purpose of this paper is to demonstrate that the theories of gift-giving, sharing and commodity exchange…
Through an empirical analysis of a consumption community, the purpose of this paper is to demonstrate that the theories of gift-giving, sharing and commodity exchange should not be kept separated but integrated into a unifying model.
The paper provides new evidence about Bookcrossing.com, whose members share and give books as gifts; that is, physical goods rather than digital ones as in most of the communities considered in the literature. This community is analysed with qualitative tools, such as netnography, personal interviews and participant observation.
The main result of the analysis of Bookcrossing is that gift-giving is not the only process responsible for value creation and distribution in consumption communities: sharing and commodity exchange also play a role. Furthermore, the paper provides new evidence about aspects of gift-giving and sharing that have received limited attention in the literature: collective reciprocity and anonymous sharing.
The limitations are related to the intrinsic properties of the methods employed (netnography, personal interviews and participant observation) and to the paper, which analyses only one community and one product category. The implications refer to the role of gift-giving in consumption communities and its relationships with other processes: consumer gift systems are not only gifting platforms, but they and the elements of sharing and commodity exchange need to be integrated.
The empirical evidence and implications matter for the organisation and management of collaborative consumption platforms and the way in which traditional business models could and should interact with these platforms in an increasing number of businesses.
The paper adds new evidence of and original insights into gift-giving and collective forms of exchange. Moreover, it provides managerial implications of the analysed community for the book publishing industry.