A Critical Study of Informal New Media Uses in Sweden
Keywords:New media, informalization, ICT, civic culture, Sweden, late capitalism
This study looks at a variety of “informal” uses of new media and ICTs. The term informal describes popular uses of digital technologies that often exist outside the norms, laws, and codes that dictate how digital technologies and networks are to be used. Such activities include what is commonly described as “piracy,” but also embrace different peer-to-peer practices. Informal activities develop due to the affordances of digital technologies, which allow space for creativity and personalization of use, but are also due to broader sociocultural variables and contextual issues. In general terms, informal activities are those that concern the amateur activities of people using digital programs, tools, and networks. Media scholars see great potential in new media/ICT affordances, as related to the proliferation of grassroots participation, communication, and creativity. Nevertheless, a growing critical literature forces us to examine the actualization of such potential. This paper discusses the aforementioned issues by looking at new media/ICT uses in Sweden; it departs from critical perspectives that take into consideration the political economy of new media, and the cultural-political critiques of late-modern consumer societies.
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