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Title: A critical exploration of Facebook : the corporation and its users
Author: Netchitailova, Ekaterina
Awarding Body: Sheffield Hallam University
Current Institution: Sheffield Hallam University
Date of Award: 2013
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This study looks at Facebook by applying critical media/cultural studies (Kellner, 1995). Facebook is analysed, on the one hand, as a corporation pursuing profit, and, on the other hand, as a tool used by millions of people for all kinds of reasons. As a result, a dialectic emerges between looking at Facebook as a part of capitalism, and looking at Facebook as a part of popular culture. By analysing Facebook as a corporation, underpinned by theoretical knowledge derived from critical studies of communication and media (Fuchs 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013) this study will look at Facebook from a macro point of view. Is Facebook capable of reinforcing democracy? What role does it play in terms of surveillance? What kind of power can we find on Facebook? To what extent does Facebook mirror and reinforce some aspects of social life, situated within capitalistic system? Theory is combined with empirical data derived from ethnographic observation and interviews with users of Facebook. While Facebook is first of all a corporation, whose main drive is profit, people log on to it on a daily basis to have fun, to connect with friends, to join causes or in order to participate in a debate. What role does Facebook play in the daily lives of its users, why do people use it and what can Facebook tell us about friendship, community and identity? And finally, how can we call a Facebook user which works for Facebook as a corporation, by providing data for it, and deriving benefits from using it at the same time? By combining both macro and micro points of view, the aim of this study is to reach a better understanding of such a phenomenon as Facebook, and thus, of a society in which it is used. The purpose is to look at Facebook as both cultural artefact and cultural context (Hine 2000) and to see what role it plays in the contemporary society and in the daily lives of its users. On a more specific, UK-based level, the aim is to examine one new cultural form, Facebook, as a case study which will provide insights into perceptions of some of the dynamics of wider social cultural understandings and the changing patterns of everyday life as a result of the increasing role of the Internet in contemporary society.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available