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I-PEEL: The International Political Economy of Everyday Life

I-PEEL: The International Political Economy of Everyday Life (1st edn)

James Brassett, Juanita Elias, Lena Rethel, and Ben Richardson
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date: 29 September 2023

p. 1857. Social Medialocked

p. 1857. Social Medialocked

  • James Brassett,
  • Juanita Elias,
  • Lena Rethel
  •  and Ben Richardson


This chapter explores the increasing significance of social media in international political economy (IPE). How we experience and represent social media has profound implications for the ethical possibilities and limits of global market life. The chapter begins by problematizing social media through the related concepts of self-branding, the attention economy, and the prosumer. It then looks at social media via two popular documentaries on Netflix: Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened (2018) and The Social Dilemma (2020). These documentaries tackle questions of reform and regulation, identifying how social media data carries immense value for corporate marketing, political strategy, credit rating, and other ways of knowing and governing society. This helps to establish an important dilemma: is social media a free and democratic space or a new infrastructure of surveillance? Finally, the chapter reflects on the politics of social media by considering different forms of critical agency.

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