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Crowdfunding the Future

Media Industries, Ethics, and Digital Society


Edited By Lucy Bennett, Bertha Chin and Bethan Jones

The concept of crowdfunding, where grassroots creative projects are funded by the masses through websites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo, has been steadily gaining attention over the last few years. Crowdfunding the Future undertakes a dynamic interdisciplinary approach to the examination of the new, and growing, phenomenon of crowdfunding and its encompassment of digital society and media industries. The book offers a wide range of perspectives and empirical research, providing analyses of crowdfunded projects, the interaction between producers and audiences, and the role that websites such as Kickstarter play in discussions around fan agency and exploitation, as well as the ethics of crowdfunding. With a series of chapters covering a global range of disciplines and topics, this volume offers a comprehensive overview on crowdfunding, examining and unraveling the international debates around this increasingly popular practice. The book is suitable for courses covering media studies, fandom, digital media, sociology, film production, anthropology, audience, and cultural studies.
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5. Four Civic Roles for Crowdfunding


5.   Four Civic Roles for Crowdfunding



Crowdfunding, the raising of capital from a large and diverse pool of donors via online platforms, has grown exponentially in the past five years, spurred by the rise of well-known services such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo. While media coverage has focused on its use in creative industries, and legislative attention in the U.S. has turned to the use of crowdfunding as a means of raising capital for companies, less attention has been paid to the use of crowdfunding for civic projects – projects that involve the creation of community assets. A civic crowdfunding project can be defined as one that develops a shared resource that is accessible to the community either as a public asset, a community-owned resource or a public-private partnership, and may or may not involve government.

The nascent field of civic crowdfunding is emerging both on platforms that were designed for more generic uses and on platforms that have been set up specifically with civic projects in mind. Studies of crowdfunding to date, though, reflect a bias toward commercial projects that is not well adapted to civic crowdfunding: existing typologies focus on the identity or role of the individual funder in the process and donors are framed as fans or consumers. Platforms and projects are analysed according to their financial structure, differentiating pledging, lending, and investing models. These models do not account fully for notions of civic identity, complexities...

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