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    Why online consumption communities brutalize

    Sibai, Olivier and Luedicke, M. and de Valck, K. (2024) Why online consumption communities brutalize. Journal of Consumer Research , ISSN 0093-5301.

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    Consumers who socialize in online consumption communities sometimes become alarmingly hostile, toxic, and otherwise verbally violent toward one another—a phenomenon known in sociology as brutalization. Research indicates that short-lived, situational outbursts of verbal violence—such as gross insults, harassment, or trolling—are common in online consumption contexts. However, it does not explain why such behaviors sometimes become endemic, turning entire communities into toxic social spaces. To address this question, the authors studied 18 years of interactions in an online electronic dance music community. Their interpretive analysis reveals three constellations of interacting, mutually reinforcing, forms of direct, structural, and cultural violence—sadistic entertainment, clan warfare, and popular justice—that fuel community brutalization in distinct ways. This article introduces these brutalization constellations, substantiates them with empirical data, and discusses their implications for theories of violence in consumption communities as well as the wider social media sphere.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): consumption communities, community management, online harassment, social media violence, trolling, digital historiography
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Business and Law > Birkbeck Business School
    Research Centres and Institutes: Responsible Business Centre
    Depositing User: Olivier Sibai
    Date Deposited: 08 Apr 2024 16:11
    Last Modified: 08 May 2024 00:10


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