Production and Consumption of Culture

ERMeCC Research Theme

In the past decades, cultural production and consumption have changed dramatically as a result of the interactions between social transformations, technological developments, and increasing market competition. Traditional boundaries between ‘highbrow’ and ‘popular’ arts have eroded. The traditionally strong ties between social status and symbolic value of culture have become more relaxed, cultural authorities have lost consecrating power due to processes of democratization, individualization, commercialization and globalization, and the tastes and behaviors of cultural consumers have become diversified and omnivorous.

At ERMeCC, we study the changing interests, preferences and practices of cultural audiences/consumers as well as the individual and organizational practices influencing the symbolic production of particular cultural products and genres. In many cultural fields individual entrepreneurs, intermediaries, and other cultural agents continuously try to shape beliefs about culture. We examine how traditional social inequalities – in terms of gender, ethnicity, class, or regional descent – are being (re)produced in the process.

We also focus on larger temporal and spatial facets of these practices by comparing time periods and countries. Special attention is paid to the role of various media - newspapers, magazines, television and the Internet - in the symbolic production of culture. The systematic comparison of cultural classification processes across countries and time is one of the focus points/trademarks of this research theme, as it enables us to come to a more precise approximation of the continuously changing notion of cultural value.  


ERMeCC researchers focus on the following subjects:

  • Cultural classification and boundary making (Berkers, Braden, Van Eijck, Janssen, Schaap, Verboord, Van Venrooij).
  • Role of locality in cultural memory and canonization (Janssen, Brandellero, Van der Hoeven, Driessen).
  • Development and functioning of art markets (Van Hest, Vermeylen, Rasterhoff, De Strooper).
  • Social dimensions of omnivorousness in media and culture (Van Eijck, Michael, Van Rees, Verboord).
  • Online participation and information use of cultural and media consumers (De Haan, Janssen, Koreman, Schols, Verboord).
  • Cultural Authority and Trust in Online Environments (Arora, Gong, Janssen, Koreman, Verboord, Vermeylen).
  • Selection and valuation processes in: art journalism (Janssen, Kuipers, Verboord), cultural education (Bevers, Verboord, Van Rees), popular music (Berkers, Driessen, Janssen, Schmutz, Van Venrooij, Verboord), literature (Berkers, Janssen, van Rees, Verboord), visual arts (Braden, Van Hest), and film (Kersten, Janssen).
  • Ritual and moral dimensions of popular media (Boross, Krijnen, Reijnders).

Recent publications

New Production and Consumption Practices and Their Impacts

A selection of publications within this research theme is listed below.


  • Payal Arora. Typology of Web 2.0 spheres: Understanding the cultural dimensions of social media spaces. Current Sociology, 60(5), 599-618

  • Payal Arora. Is the doctor on? In Search for Users of Rural Medical Diagnostic Software in Central Himalayas, Development in Practice. Routledge

  • Lela Mosemghvdlishvili & Jansz (2012) Framing and praising Allah on YouTube: Exploring user-created videos about Islam and the motivations for producing them. New Media & Society, 14, 1-19

  • Ericka M enchen‐Trevino & C. Karr. Researching Real‐world Web Use with Roxy, Collecting observational Web data with informed consent. Journal of Information Technology & Politics, 9(3), 254‐268.

  • H. Zhou, L.Shi, Yuping Mao, J. Tang, & Y. Zeng. Diffusion of new technology, health services and information after a crisis: A focus group study of the Sichuan “5.12” earthquake. International Journal of Health Planning and Management. Online first: DOI: 10.1002/hpm.2137. 

  • Peter Nikken & H. de Graaf. Reciprocal relationships between friends’ and parental mediation of adolescents’ media use and their sexual attitudes and behavior. Journal of Youth and Adolescence. Online first: DOI 10.1007/s10964‐012‐9873‐5

  • Nathalie Sonck & Jos de Haan. How digital skills mediate between online risk and harm. Journal of Children and Media . Online first: DOI:10.1080/17482798.2012.739783

  • Marc Verboord. Exploring authority in the film blogosphere: Differences between male and female bloggers regarding blog content and structure. Interactions, 2(3), 243‐259.

  • Janelle WardCommunicating citizenship online. Euricom Monographs: New Media & Democracy. New Jersey, USA: Hampton Press. [ISBN13‐781612890999]


  • Payal Arora. Online social sites as virtual parks: An investigation into leisure online and offline. The Information Society, (ISSN 0197-2243), 27(2), 113-120.

  • Jos de Haan, Kuiper, E. & Pijpers, R. Young children and their digital skills in the Netherlands. International Journal of Media and Cultural Politics (print), (ISSN 1740-8296), 6(3), 327-333.

  • Yuping Mao, Ledbetter, A.M., Mazer, J.P., Groot, J.M. De & Swafford, B. Attitudes toward online social connection and self-disclosure as predictors of Facebook communication and relational closeness. Communication Research (print), (ISSN 0093-6502), 38(1), 27-53.

  • Marc Verboord. Cultural products go online. Comparing the Internet and print media on distributions of gender, genre and commercial success. Communications. the European journal of communication research (online), (ISSN 1613-4087), 36(4), 441-462.

  • Janelle Ward & Claes de Vreese. Political consumerism, young citizens and the internet. Media Culture & Society (print), (ISSN 0163-4437), 33(3), 399-413.

  • Janelle Ward. Reaching citizens online: How youth organizations are evolving their web presence. Information Communication and Society (online), (ISSN 1468-4462), 14(6), 917-936.


  • Payal AroraDot com mantra: Social computing in Central Himalayas. Farnham, Surrey (UK); Ashgate Publishing.

  • Jeroen Jansz, C. Avis & Mirjam Vosmeer. Playing The Sims2: an exploratory survey among female and male gamers. New Media & Society. (ISSN 1461-4448), 12, 235-251.

  • Jeroen Jansz & Peter Nikken. Games. In J. de Haan & R. Pijpers (Eds.), Contact! Children and New Media (pp. 29-53). Houte: BSL (ISBN ISBN 978 90 313 7837 1).

  • Jos de Haan. Late on the curve: Causes and consequences of differences in digital skills. E. Ferro, Y.Kumar Dwivedi, J. Ramon Gil-Garcia & M.D. Williams (Eds.). Handbook of research on overcoming digital divides: Constructing an equitable and competitive information society (pp. 292-308). Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference.

  • David Novak. Democratizing qualitative research: Photovoice and the study of human communication. Communication Methods and Measures, (ISSN 1931-2458), 4, 291-310.  

  • Joyce Neys & Jeroen Jansz. Political Internet games: engaging an audience. European Journal of Communication, (ISSN 0267-3231), 25(3), 1-15.

  • Marc Verboord, The legitimacy of book critics in the age of the Internet and omnivorousness: Expert critics,Internet critics and peer critics in Flanders and the Netherlands. European Sociological Review(ISSN 0266-7215), 26(6), 623-637.

  • Janelle WardCommunicating citizenship online. Euricom Monographs: New Media & Democracy. New Jersey, USA: Hampton Press.

  • Janelle Ward. Political consumerism as political participation? Evidence from the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. In K. Brants & K. Voltmer (Eds.), Challenging the primacy of politics: Political communication in postmodern democracy. Hampshire, UK: Palgrave Publishers.


  • Jeroen Jansz & Mirjam Vosmeer The unlikely serious gamer. In U. Ritterfeld, M. Cody, & P. Vorderer (Eds.). Serious Games: Mechanisms and Effects (pp. 236-247) London: Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group.

  • Tonny Krijnen & Ed Tan. Reality TV as a moral laboratory. Communications. The European Journal of Communication Research, 39(4), 449-472.

  • Tonny Krijnen, Imagining moral citizenship. Gendered politics in television discourses. In B. Cammaerts, S. van Bauwel & I. Garcia-Blanco (Eds.) Moral agoras: Democracy, diversity and communication (pp. 115-133). Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

  • Mijke Slot. A clear case of ‘virtucoolness :P’. Conducting discussion groups in online communities. Observatorio Journal, 8, 239-259.

  • Mijke Slot. Exploring user-producer interaction in an online community: the case of Habbo Hotel. International Journal of Web Based Communities, 5 (1), 33–48.

  • Marc Verboord & Joost van Luijt. Peer-produced websites and legitimate culture.Observatorio (OBS *) 5