17 April, 2008

Research proposal

I've just e-mailed the dean of research at my university an abstract of my proposal for a doctoral research project. Whew!

The title for the project is ‘An ethnography of consumer gift systems in video sharing websites’. Poetry!

Here is the abstract, in all its beauty.
"This research aims to develop a model of consumer gift giving within the virtual communities of video sharing websites, to extend the paradigm of gift giving as described in classic anthropological and sociological texts. I aim produce empirical evidence in support of Markus Giesler’s research on consumer gift systems (2006). Giesler conceptualises a consumer gift system as ‘a system of social solidarity based on a structured set of gift exchange and social relationships among consumers.’ (Giesler, 2006) Giesler derives a set of markers that characterise gift systems - social distinctions, norm of reciprocity, and rituals and symbolisms - and finds that peer-to-peer music file sharing facilities (such as Napster, Kazaa and Lime Wire) display these characteristics. I wish to extend Giesler’s concepts to embrace the less structured/more distributed forms of social interaction and sharing represented by video sharing websites (such as Youtube and Google Video). The latter part of the research will also discuss the implications for research on solidarity, gift giving and consumption and future research directions."