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An Internet for the PeopleThe Politics and Promise of craigslist$
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Jessa Lingel

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780691188904

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691188904.001.0001

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Craigslist, the Secondary Market, and Politics of Value

Craigslist, the Secondary Market, and Politics of Value

(p.67) 4 Craigslist, the Secondary Market, and Politics of Value
An Internet for the People

Jessa Lingel

Princeton University Press

This chapter focuses on craigslist's role as a secondary marketplace for used goods, meaning a market that operates outside of formal businesses and vendors. Drawing on interviews with users, the chapter describes motivations for using craigslist to buy and sell used goods. These reasons range from community building and limiting waste to economizing and entrepreneurialism. Interviews also revealed different ideas of value that emerge in secondary markets, meaning both the monetary value that has to be decided on when there is no vendor acting as a middleman, and the social value attached to pre-owned goods. The chapter then looks at the “mash-up catalogs” of craigslist, meaning the digital accounts dedicated to archiving craigslist exchanges. Using over one hundred accounts from Tumblr, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook, the chapter analyzes these efforts to document craigslist as an entry point for theorizing the social lives of craigslist's things. The politics of buying and selling incorporate a range of economic, environmental, and social motivations, with negotiations of value that can alternately re-create and critique mainstream markets.

Keywords:   secondary marketplace, used goods, secondary markets, pre-owned goods, mash-up catalogs, craigslist exchanges, documenting craigslist, negotiations of value

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