Critics, Ratings, and Society: The Sociology of Reviews

Critics, Ratings, and Society: The Sociology of Reviews

by Grant Blank
ISBN-10:
0742547027
ISBN-13:
9780742547025
Pub. Date:
10/10/2006
Publisher:
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.

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Overview

Critics, Ratings, and Society: The Sociology of Reviews

How do we make choices in an information-saturated world? Prior studies often assume that the problem is coping with the volume of information. They rarely ask how people judge the validity of new information. But we are all forced to depend on secondary sources that no one has the time or resources to verify. In Critics, Ratings, and Society Grant Blank confronts these issues through an investigation of independent evaluations and reviews. Reviews are widespread; they rank products ranging from books and films to automobiles and computers. They are important not just because they influence success and failure of products, they also make or break reputations and careers, and often play a critical role in stratification, power, and status. Reviews are shaped by the interaction of media editors, product makers, and consumers into credible cultural objects. These are processed into two types of rating systems: connoisseurial reviews that depend on the unique skills and experience of a single reviewer, a connoisseur; and procedural reviews that are based on the results of tests, well-defined procedures that allow reviewers to rank groups of similar products. Both rating systems construct hierarchies of products. Blank develops a new theory explaining the circumstances where economic concerns like price are overshadowed by review-constructed hierarchies. When this happens, culture constructs markets. He argues that review-constructed hierarchies are widespread as a consequence of inherent structural characteristics of contemporary capitalism and, as a result, reviews will become more important in the future.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780742547025
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 10/10/2006
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 6.21(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.93(d)

About the Author

Grant Blank is assistant professor of sociology at American University in Washington DC. His special interests are in the sociology of culture, the influence of computers and electronic networks, and analysis of qualitative and quantitative data.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 What Are Reviews? Chapter 2 Toward a Theory of Credible Rating Systems Chapter 3 Connoisseurial Reviews: Restaurants Chapter 4 Procedural Reviews: Statistical Software Chapter 5 The Production of Reviews Chapter 6 Audiences, Credibility, and the Social Construction of Reviews Chapter 7 "Dining Is My Sport": Reception and Hierarchies Chapter 8 Reviews and the Status Culture

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