Arriagada, A; Bishop, S; Ibáñez, F. (2019, en revisión). “Moving between commerciality and authenticity: the imaginary of social media influencers in the attention economy”.
In this article we propose the idea of the “influencer imaginary”, a subjectivity through which individuals conceal their activities as cultural producers in highly marketize contexts. Drawing from Taylor’s (2002) concept of social imaginaries as modes of imagining our social existence or relations, as well as the “expectations, the images and norms behind those expectations” (p. 20), the “influencer imaginary” organize their social world with three interrelated imperatives that enables them to justify moving between two contradictory poles of commerciality and authenticity (Boltanski & Thevenot, 2006), and to reconcile their activities— promoting consumption—with their sense of themselves:
1) They are mobilized to resolve asymmetries of information in order to help markets work, 2) They feel compelled to communicate the properties of products, doing the opposite of celebrities and advertisement agencies, that means, being average people promoting a satisfactory consumption experience, 3) They negotiate these activities —and their branded personas—with themselves, their audiences, and agencies.