The valorising of individuality in Western society, which is exaggerated in youth culture, has been described as ‘a cult of individualism’ (Atkinson, 2006: 75). Indicators of such traits may function as commodities in social settings, which in turn could earn social status, increasing social capital (Allik, 2004: 29). Resonating with capitalist notions of the individual as the center of importance, and perpetuating anti-communist abbhorrence of unification, individuality seems to be increasingly upheld in youth culture as virtuous (Traber, 2001: 30), to the extent that (within socially accepted boundaries and adherence to certain behavioural norms) perceived autonomy of an individual by others is related to the opportunities for social and community involvement they experience (Allik, 2004: 32).
The whole essay is available here: Individualism and social capital in an online social networking community: Myspace as an organising site for identity construction [PDF]
2 responses to “Individualism and Social Capital in an Online Social Networking Community: ‘MySpace’ as an organising site for Identity Construction”
You may like reading “Introducing Social Capital Value Add” http://bit.ly/TSkL and you definately want to check out @barrywellman on Networked Individualism.
Nice analysis. I hadn’t thought, specifically, about the rather interesting point about the conflict between the hyper-individualisation through massively configurable identity portrayal in MySpace and the social feedback element before.