Intermediaries and mediators: an actor-network understanding of online property platforms

GOODCHILD, Barry and FERRARI, Edward (2021). Intermediaries and mediators: an actor-network understanding of online property platforms. Housing Studies Online ISSN 1466-1810.

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Online platforms have become central to the operation of the housing market in the UK and elsewhere. This paper extends recent scholarship on the impacts of ‘the digital’ on housing outcomes by assessing the ‘performative’ ability of property platforms to maintain and construct market practices. Using actor-network theory, a distinction is made between platforms as intermediaries that advertise properties and link different parties to a transaction and as mediators, capable of changing how the world is interpreted. Recognising platforms as intermediaries enables a classification of matchmaking types. Recognising platforms as mediators enables an assessment of the extent of their impact on tenure preferences and mobility and raises questions about the applicability of sharing economy concepts to housing. Actor-network theory allows a qualified and differentiated assessment of the varied impact of platforms, enabling a consideration of the factors that lead to continuity as well as those that promote change.

Item Type: Article
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Depositing User: Colin Knott
Date Deposited: 17 Dec 2021 17:34
Last Modified: 23 Jun 2023 01:18

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