University of St.Gallen
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Rethinking ‘Civil Society’ via the Sociology of Flows : Crowdfunding as Spaces of Alternative Ordering?

abstract Available conceptualizations of ‘civil society’ tend to depict the subject matter as a ‘thing’, often either credited with the potential to solve today’s most pressing social problems (the progressive view) or, conversely, seen as perpetuating prevailing orders of power (the conservative view). To venture beyond these essentialist imageries which envision ‘civil society’ as a static configuration which is always already there, we employ the metaphor of zooming in to argue that the social is radically open, that is, neither progressive or conservative a priori but becoming progressive or conservative in the way it is enacted through heterogeneous elements. With this as a backdrop, we introduce Actor-Network Theory and After to flesh out a post-foundational understanding of the social, and use the case of crowdfunding to reflect on how technology-mediated ordering practices might bring about alternative forms of sociality. The paper concludes that Actor-Network Theory and After – despite claims to the contrary – bears critical potential in the way it pinpoints, based on empirical insights, favorable ordering practices.
   
type conference paper (English)
   
keywords
   
name of conference ISTR 10th International Conference (Siena, Italy)
date of conference 11-7-2012
title of proceedings Democratization, Marketization, and the Third Sector
page(s) 1-22
publisher International Society for Third-Sector Research ISTR (Baltimore USA)
review blind review
   
citation Dey, P., & Marti, L. (2012). Rethinking ‘Civil Society’ via the Sociology of Flows: Crowdfunding as Spaces of Alternative Ordering?. In Democratization, Marketization, and the Third Sector, pp.1-22. Baltimore USA: International Society for Third-Sector Research ISTR.