Social networks and the production of cultural value: forthcoming from Poetics at last

Well, at last it seems that my article on using social network analysis to study the production of cultural value is going to appear in Poetics: Journal of Empirical Research on Culture, the Media, and the Arts. The peer review process took a while, but it has been exceptionally useful and constructive. I’ve got a couple of last tweaks to apply, and I’ve got no idea when the thing will actually see print, but forthcoming it is, and I cannot tell you how good that feels. (And by the way: yes, Poetics is an Elsevier publication. It also happens to be a truly outstanding journal whose articles have for years played a huge part in my intellectual development. If you want to know why I am not going to feel guilty about publishing in one of my absolute favourite journals, read here and here. If you’ve got no idea why some people might have a problem with that, congratulations.)

It’s a single article (albeit quite a long one: over 13 thousand words), but the amount of research involved has been considerable, and represents a vast chunk of my time over the last five years. I’ve been intending to blog about it since I created this website but thought I’d better wait until it had passed peer review (yes, it’s been that long!). I’m going to write more posts about the article and the research behind it soon, but there have already been a few tasters: the paper I gave at the Poetics and Linguistics Association conference in 2012 (see abstract), the seminar I gave at the King’s College London Centre for e-Research in September (see abstract), the blog post I wrote while preparing for the latter, and the livetweets that Simon Rowberry and others were kind enough to make while I was actually presenting. At some point soon, there will also be a video from the aforementioned seminar available via the CeRch website.

For the time being, here are the highlights:

  • Bourdieu’s field theory of the production of value reviewed
  • Produced value conceived as centrality to a directed graph of evaluations
  • Interactive fiction (i.e. text adventure games) conceived as a field
  • Empirical study of automatically-harvested, naturally-occurring data
  • Focus on dominant and subordinate positions within a field

I might use those as subject headings in a future post. For the time being, this will have to do.

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