How app companies use GitHub: on modes of valuation in the digital attention economy

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This paper contributes to political economic debates on the digital economy and software production by attending to the 'hybridity' of economic forms in digital markets. It adds to a nascent literature on hybridity by going close to the processes of code-production. Methodologically, we ambitiously combine in-situ ethnography with netnographic observation and qualitative interviews in a thickly multi-situated analysis of Danish proprietary app developers' use of the code-repository Github commonly associated with free and open source software (F/OSS) projects. By attending to the situated practices of everyday coding within 'app-centric media,' we show how proprietary developers engage in hybrid practices that both align, but are also partly at odds with the overarching frame of commercial exchanges in which they operate. We argue that these practices form part of four boundary crossing, salient modes of valuation within Danish app-development, which at once destabilize and maintain traditional boundaries between proprietary and F/OSS code. While our analysis concerns a Danish app economy, it serves to demonstrate how hybridity beyond commercial exchange forms a fundamental part of both software materiality, practices and values within situated digital markets. This, thereby, is crucial to grasping the valuations and mechanisms at work furthering the digital attention economy.

TidsskriftJournal of Cultural Economy
Udgave nummer2
Sider (fra-til)242-259
Antal sider18
StatusUdgivet - 2023

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