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Crowdfunding the Future

Media Industries, Ethics, and Digital Society

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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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8. Because It Takes a Village to Fund the Answers: Crowdfunding University Research

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8.   Because It Takes a Village to Fund the Answers: Crowdfunding University Research

DEB VERHOEVEN AND STUART PALMER

“The first point to emphasise is that the crowd never feels saturated”.

ELIAS CANETTI, CROWDS AND POWER, 1978: 22

Introduction

Whichever way you look at it, online crowdfunding is ramifying. From its foundations supporting creative industry initiatives, crowdfunding has branched into almost every aspect of public and private enterprise. Niche crowdfunding platforms and models are burgeoning across the globe faster than you can trill “kerching”. Early adopters have been quick to discover that in addition to money, they also get free market information and an opportunity to develop a relationship with their market base.

Despite these evident benefits, universities have been cautious entrants in the crowdfunding space and more generally in the emerging “collaborative economy” (Owyang, 2013). There are many cultural and institutional legacies that might explain this reluctance. For example, to date universities have achieved social (and economic) distinction through refining a set of exclusionary practices including, but not limited to, versions of gatekeeping, ranking, and credentialing. These practices are reproduced in the expected behaviours of individual academics who garner social currency and status as experts, legislators, and interpreters (Osborne, 2014: 435). Digitalization and the emergent knowledge and collaboration economies have the potential ← 133 | 134 → to disrupt the academy’s traditional appeals to distinction and to re-engage universities and academics with their public stakeholders. This chapter will examine...

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