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Moral economies of the digital

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journal contribution
posted on 02.11.2017, 09:43 by Dave Elder-Vass
Within thirty years of first appearing, the networked digital economy has spread its tentacles into the lives of half the population of the world, and transformed the balance of power in the commercial economy. Social theory has been slow to recognise the significance and scale of these developments, and this special issue is a contribution to redressing the balance. It is organised around the concept of moral economies: the values and norms that underpin and shape our participation in larger economic structures. The digital economy today is the site of a range of competing economic models, and this is reflected in clashes between a corresponding range of moral economies. The contributors to the issue map these tensions in examples of both gift and commodity models of economy, analyse the implications for global risk, and re-evaluate classic analytic schemes for representing these tensions. Because the economy is built on moral economies, the process of economic change is already inherently a process of debate and contestation between different moral economies, with the consequence that academic work on the ethics of the economy can influence these processes of change.



  • Social Sciences


  • Communication, Media, Social and Policy Studies

Published in

European Journal of Social Theory


ELDER-VASS, D., 2017. Moral economies of the digital. European Journal of Social Theory, 21(2), pp. 141-147.


© The authors. Published by SAGE Publications Ltd


AM (Accepted Manuscript)

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This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

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This paper was accepted for publication in the journal European Journal of Social Theory and the definitive published version is available at https://doi.org/10.1177/1368431017734165