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Exploring the socio-economic structures of internet-enabled development: a study of grassroots netepreneurs in China

Avgerou, Chrisanthi, Li, Boyi and Poulymenakou, Angeliki (2011) Exploring the socio-economic structures of internet-enabled development: a study of grassroots netepreneurs in China. In: IFIP WG9.4 International Conference: Partners for Development - ICT Actors and Actions, 2011-05-22 - 2011-11-25, Kathmandu, Nepal.

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There is increasing interest in the potential of internet platforms for networking and collaboration - often referred to as web 2.0 - to open up unprecedented prospects for individuals to come together and engage in economic and political activities, bypassing and indeed subverting the corporate structures of the market economy and state control. The prevailing discourse on this technology-driven transformative potential focuses on networks of individuals interacting through technology tools with little, if at all, attention to the social context that gives rise and sustains their networked economic or political activities. In this paper we study the social embeddedness of the empowering potential of internet-enabled economic activity. We present and discuss a case of intense entrepreneurial activity in a Chinese community, engaging in e-commerce trading conducted on a platform of internet tools. Our analysis of this case juxtaposes the emerging views on web2.0 business activities with views drawn from a long established literature on entrepreneurship as a networked activity. We found that internet-based entrepreneurial activity at this case of grassroots development enacts online social networking mechanisms of peer-to-peer and vendor-customer interactions and heavily depends on a corporate service provider, as well as the historically developed community infrastructure for commerce. Overall, our research explores whether economic activity enabled by web 2.0 is an individualistic phenomenon, or it relies on institutional bearings and if so what is their nature.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2011 The Authors
Divisions: Management
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Date Deposited: 27 Nov 2020 14:39
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2023 08:37

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