Buy It Now: Lessons from eBay

Michele White. Duke Univ., $25.95 (344p) ISBN 978-0-8223-5240-2
“[E]arly writings about the Internet tend to claim that everyone can connect equitably because of Internet-facilitated anonymity,” writes White (The Body and the Screen), professor of communications at Tulane University, who quickly goes on to dispel this prediction of a new, nonjudgmental Web-based world. Her latest work—a dense, academic analysis of how eBay and other Internet sites perpetuate and reinforce stereotypes—scrutinizes various aspects of language and communication, including visual culture and organizational logic. Throughout this painstakingly researched text, White provides examples of gender and sexuality stereotypes—including wedding dress categorization and symbolism, or “gay interest” sellers who are often linked to underwear and swimsuits—within eBay that reinforce traditional gender role attitudes. She asserts that “gendered, raced, and sexualized subjects are imbricated in Internet settings,” and wants to see further critiques along these lines within new media studies. While the scholarly examination of organizational and cultural logic is likely to have limited appeal to the casual reader, the book presents an intriguing look at sociological implications of new media. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/21/2012
Release date: 07/01/2012
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 336 pages - 978-0-8223-5226-6
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