'Prosuming' conservation? Web 2.0, nature and the intensification of value-producing labour in late capitalism

Bram Büscher*, Jim Igoe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Recent insights from critical social theory suggest that consumption and production co-constitute each other; a phenomenon referred to as 'prosumption'. It is further suggested that contemporary prosumption dynamics could alter the form of capitalism. In this article, we argue that recent literature and research on the intersection between capitalism and nature conservation are highly relevant in engaging these claims. Predominantly but not solely through interactive web 2.0 applications, conservation organisations are increasingly drawing consumers into the production of conservation, thereby enabling them to 'prosume' and co-create (narratives about and images of) 'nature' as well as their own identities as environmentally conscious citizens. We argue that prosumption is an intensification of earlier capitalist attempts at generating 'value-producing labour' from commodity-sign values. Ethnographic engagements with nature conservation in eastern and southern Africa, in turn, show that this value-producing labour is inherently material through its concealed connections with contradictory conservation realities in the context of late capitalism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)283-305
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Consumer Culture
Volume13
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • capitalism
  • conservation
  • intensification
  • nature
  • prosumption
  • signvalue
  • spectacle
  • Web 2.0

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