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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Polyphony in Social Classification: Exploring Hybrid Forms of Speech, Practice, and Text in Digital Settings


As information technologies grow and the digital online spaces become increasingly popular places for social interaction, we are confronted with new forms of sociality, practice, and knowledge organization that defy traditional distinctions between document, text, speech, language, and practice. This paper argues that due to these shifts, we also need new theoretical frameworks that reflect these changes. This paper presents a study of a social classification system, from an ethnographic approach to introduce that concepts speech and practice into the study of digital engagement. This paper specifically introduces concepts of monologue and dialogue to elucidate the ways in which people participate in social classification systems and, more importantly, the ways in which they negotiate their relationships to a larger digital public.

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