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|Title: ||WHERE DO SOCIAL CATEGORIES COME FROM? A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF ONLINE INTERACTION AND CATEGORICAL EMERGENCE IN MUSIC AND FINANCE|
|Authors: ||Goldberg, Amir|
|Advisors: ||DiMaggio, Paul J|
|Contributors: ||Sociology Department|
|Issue Date: ||2012|
|Publisher: ||Princeton, NJ : Princeton University|
|Abstract: ||Social systems of classification have always captivated the sociological imagination. Collectively agreed-upon ways of sorting the world into different categorical boxes - such as those distinguishing people by ethnicity or occupation - play important roles in sustaining social order. Yet while sociologists have thoroughly investigated how divisions reified by social categories have concrete consequences for the unequal distribution of resources, a central question remains largely unanswered: how do these categories emerge?
This dissertation tries to address this question by comparatively investigating the classificatory dynamics in two social network websites: an online music community in which individuals share their musical compilations, and a financial investment website where users exchange information about their investment portfolios. Existing sociological scholarship suggests a co-evolutionary mechanism whereby category systems are inter-subjectively coordinated through interaction, shaping the patterns of interpersonal exchange which sustain them. This dissertation dissects this proposition analytically, translates it operationally, and tests it empirically.
I argue that, whether deciding which music to listen to or what stocks to invest in, the categorical distinctions people use to make sense of the world are inherently related to the people with whom they interact. My results demonstrate a persistent overlap between structures of interpersonal interaction and categorical meaning: when people interact in clearly bounded groups, they also tend to draw stronger categorical boundaries. Change emerges on the seams connecting these groups. As I demonstrate, when an artist is listened to or a stock invested in by people outside the group they are associated with, these objects' meanings begin to transform. Status plays an important role in providing incentives and rewards for people to defy categorical boundaries. Though there are obvious differences between musical consumption and financial investment, this dissertation is concerned with highlighting the fundamentally similar ways in which meaning is socially constituted in both.|
|Alternate format: ||The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog: http://catalog.princeton.edu/|
|Type of Material: ||Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)|
|Appears in Collections:||Sociology|
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