Buy It Now

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2012-07-10
  • Publisher: Duke Univ Pr
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In Buy It Now, Michele White examines eBay and its emphasis on community and social norms, revealing the cultural assumptions about gender, race, and sexuality that are reinforced throughout the site. She shows how instructional texts, rule systems, and advertisements "configure the user," allowing eBay to indicate how the site is supposed to function while also upholding particular values and practices. White details how eBay reinforces stereotypes about gender and sexuality, looking, for example, at descriptions included in wedding dress listings, and how eBay directs individuals to the Adult Only part of the website when they use the search terms "gay" and "lesbian." She discloses the ways that eBay promises a caring community but its "Black Americana" category reproduces racism by allowing sellers' narratives that excuse and romanticize slavery and insult African Americans. White also looks at how participants challenge eBay's categories, rules, and values, examining widely used strategies of resistance by sellers and buyers in the lesbian and gay interest listings. By analyzing the organizational and cultural logics present in eBay, White emphasizes how other Internet settings, including craigslist, are not as transparent, community-oriented, and empowering as they claim. She proposes methods for researching and reconceptualizing new media sites.

Author Biography

Michele White is Associate Professor of Communication al Tulane University. She is the author of The Body and the Screen: Theories of Internet Spectatorship.

Table of Contents

Figuresp. vii
Preface and Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introduction: Lessons and Methods from eBayp. 1
Between Security and Distrust: eBay's Brand, Fan, and Virtual Communitiesp. 24
Pins, Cards, and Griffith's Jacket: Producing Identity and Brand Communities through eBay Live! Conferences and Collectingp. 52
You Can "Get It On" eBay: Selling Gender, Sexuality, and Organizational Logic through the Interfacep. 84
eBay's Visible Masculinities: "Gay" and "Gay Interest" Listings and the Politics of Describingp. 110
eBay Boys Will Be Lesbians: Viewing "Lesbian" and "Lesbian Interest" Vintage Photography Listingsp. 143
Re-collecting Black Americana: "Absolutely Derogatory" Objects and Narratives from eBay's Communityp. 168
Afterword: Everything in Moderation: The Regulating Aspects of craigslist and the Moral Assertions of "Community Flaggingö.p. 203
Notesp. 219
Works Citedp. 289
Indexp. 309
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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