Platforms and Cultural Production by Thomas Poell, David Nieborg, & Brooke Erin Duffy

Platforms and Cultural Production

Thomas Poell, David B. Nieborg & Brooke Erin Duffy
Polity, 2021

The widespread uptake of digital platforms – from YouTube and Instagram to Twitch and TikTok – is reconfiguring cultural production in profound, complex, and highly uneven ways. Longstanding media industries are experiencing tremendous upheaval, while new industrial formations – live-streaming, social media influencing, and podcasting, among others – are evolving at breakneck speed.

Poell, Nieborg, and Duffy explore both the processes and the implications of platformization across the cultural industries, identifying key changes in markets, infrastructures, and governance at play in this ongoing transformation, as well as pivotal shifts in the practices of labor, creativity, and democracy. The authors foreground three particular industries – news, gaming, and social media creation – and also draw upon examples from music, advertising, and more. Diverse in its geographic scope, Platforms and Cultural Production builds on the latest research and accounts from across North America, Western Europe, Southeast Asia, and China to reveal crucial differences and surprising parallels in the trajectories of platformization across the globe.

  • Reviewed in Media, Culture & Society

  • Reviewed in Journal of Consumer Culture

  • Reviewed in Canadian Journal of Communication

  • Reviewed in International Journal of Cultural Policy

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Mainstreaming and Game Journalism

David B. Nieborg & Maxwell Foxman
MIT Press, September 2023

Mainstreaming and Game Journalism addresses both the history and current practice of game journalism, along with the roles writers and industry play in conveying that the medium is a “mainstream” form of entertainment. Through interviews with reporters, David B. Nieborg and Maxwell Foxman retrace how the game industry and journalists started a subcultural spiral in the 1980s that continues to this day. Digital play became increasingly exclusionary by appealing to niche audiences, relying on hardcore fans and favoring the male gamer stereotype. At the same time, this culture pushed journalists to the margins, leaving them toiling to find freelance gigs and deeply ambivalent about their profession.

Mainstreaming and Game Journalism also examines the bumpy process of what we think of as “mainstreaming.” The authors argue that it encompasses three overlapping factors. First, for games to become mainstream, they need to become more ubiquitous through broader media coverage. Second, an increase in ludic literacy, or how-to play games, determines whether that greater visibility translates into accessibility. Third, the mainstreaming of games must gain cultural legitimacy. The fact that games are more visible does little if only a few people take them seriously or deem them worthy of attention. Ultimately, Mainstreaming and Game Journalism provocatively questions whether games ever will—or even should—gain widespread cultural acceptance.

Piattaforme digitali e produzione culturale

Thomas Poell, David B. Nieborg & Brooke Erin Duffy
Minimum Fax, 2022

La diffusione globale delle piattaforme digitali – da YouTube a Instagram, fino a Twitch e TikTok – sta modificando profondamente le forme e i modelli della produzione culturale, con risultati complessi e imprevedibili: le vecchie industrie dei media attraversano enormi sconvolgimenti e riconfigurazioni, mentre le nuove factory digitali – legate allo streaming, agli influencer e al podcasting – crescono a una velocità vertiginosa e inattesa. Piattaforme digitali e produzione culturale sviluppa le sue analisi a partire da ricerche aggiornate e resoconti provenienti da Nordamerica, Europa, Sudest asiatico e Cina, riuscendo in questo modo a mettere in evidenza sia le differenze che i sorprendenti parallelismi di questa radicale trasformazione della cultura secondo le nuove logiche delle piattaforme digitali.

Poell, Nieborg e Duffy prendono in esame tre settori specifici – il giornalismo, i videogiochi e i social media – analizzati con esempi e dovizia di particolari, ma traggono spunti anche dalla musica e dalla pubblicità per esplorare con profondità e acume il processo di «piattaformizzazione» dell’industria culturale, individuando i principali cambiamenti che investono sia i mercati e le infrastrutture tecnologiche che la produzione di contenuti e la creatività, e indagandone le profonde ricadute sul nostro modo di vivere la democrazia.