Networks of Speculation: Making Land Markets on Myanmar Facebook

Courtney T. Wittekind, Hilary Oliva Faxon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Digital platforms have changed how property is sold and valued in the Global North, yet little is known about digital tools in emerging land markets. Drawing on in situ and digital ethnography, we argue that Facebook plays a key role in making a new kind of market in Myanmar, one in which land is transformed into a speculative asset, exchanged across ever-expanding networks. While commodification is familiar within longer histories of capitalism, this case highlights the significance of digital platforms to the contemporary remaking of property relations. Unlike classic cases of market-making enabled by active state regulation, Myanmar’s digital land markets were forged in the context of state absence by brokers who harnessed the technological affordances of social media to increase the scale, scope and speed of transactions. This creative re-appropriation of the platform forged new, unregulated digital markets that ultimately accumulated corporate profits and intensified participant risk.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)643-665
Number of pages23
JournalAntipode
Volume55
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2023

Keywords

  • Myanmar
  • commodification
  • digital
  • platform capitalism
  • property
  • technology

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