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THE EXCHANGE OF MATERIAL CULTURE AMONG ROCK FANS IN ONLINE COMMUNITIES

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In online rock fan communities, fans regularly offer goods up for sale or trade and sometimes give them away. These objects constitute the material culture of the fans and reflect the values of the people in the online groups. Using data from participant observation of two fan groups and 101 interviews with members, this article identifies the main types of material goods exchanged including imports of concert recordings, tickets to shows, apparel and accessories, and fan and band artwork. In describing how the objects are transmitted from one fan to another, this article shows how the process of giving and receiving material culture can strengthen bonds between individuals by using the new technologies of the internet. Exchanging material culture first described online in internet communities adds to an understanding of the increasingly permeable boundaries between offline and online interactions.
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Keywords: bonding; community; computer-mediated communication; cyberculture; fans; social media

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Sociology Department,Ohio University, 1570 Granville PikeLancaster,OH,43130, USA

Publication date: May 1, 2012

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