The friendship assemblage

My article “The Friendship Assemblage: Investigating Programmed Sociality on Facebook”, has just been published online in Television & New Media

Abstract

In an age in which social networking sites have become the preferred way of socializing online, the question of how to think about the contours of friendship in and through these mediated spaces becomes all the more important. In contrast to much existing research on online friendship, this article takes on a software-sensitive approach. Through a close reading of various sociotechnical processes in which friendship is activated on Facebook (i.e., registering, making a profile, finding friends, communicating, etc.), this article suggests that friendships online need to be understood as a gathering of heterogeneous elements that include both humans and nonhumans. Moreover, this article attempts to show how the traditional notion of friendship as something created between equals and free of structural constraints does not apply to the realm of social networking sites, where software increasingly assists users in making certain choices about who will and who will not be their friends.

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