Bookonomy The Consumption Practice and Value of Book Reading

Detta är en avhandling från Stockholm : School of Business, Stockholm University

Sammanfattning: In contemporary society, book readers are increasingly being valued as consumers. Literacy and reading are often subjected to an economic logic and seen as constituting economic operations in themselves. The overall research objective is to explore whether and to what extent book reading as consumption practice belongs with traditional understandings of economy and culture, consumption and value. This entails studies on different levels: theoretical, methodological and meta-theoretical. The main thesis is that we need to envision another mode of economy related to books and reading, captured in the concept of “bookonomy”.The methodological problems connected to the empirical study of consumption practice can be dealt with constructively if we engage consumers in complementary experimental activities. Visual sessions can contribute directly by: 1.) contextualizing practices in everyday life; 2.) exhibiting visible, material aspects, etc.; 3) uncovering invisible aspects such as the art and logic of practice. Using an abductive approach to science and several types of qualitative data, the study puts consumption practice in a new light.Several logics of book reading are uncovered: distributive, encompassing, additive, geometric, accounting, erosive, and depository. These logics of practice are better understood as consummation, rather than consumption. The meta-theoretical study suggested that unlike economic theory that teaches the allocation of scarce resources to meet infinite needs, bookonomy denotes an underlying pattern of complementary logics that gather together and distribute surplus, both historically and as driver into industrial mass production and post-scarcity. Where economic theory distinguishes between value-in-use (utility), value-in-exchange (value) and value-in-money (price), bookonomic value is an epiphenomenal type of value that simultaneously draws on, takes hold of, and deals out surplus. It is a surplus-to-surplus value-in-store, with a distributive logic at heart.

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