An Actor-Network Theory Approach to Korean Flower Auctions

화훼시장 경매에 대한 행위자-연결망 이론적 접근

  • Received : 2019.03.19
  • Accepted : 2019.06.25
  • Published : 2019.07.31


Built upon ethnographic method such as participant observation and in-depth interview, this study analyzes the material culture of electronic flower auctions at Yangjae Flower Market. From the viewpoint of Actor-Network Theory(ANT), this research examines how human actors like dealers and auctioneers interact with nonhuman actors such as market devices and these interactions form networks called "agencement." This research is focused on three main objectives: first, to study how the performance of auctions - i.e. the interactions between auctioneers and dealers - change in the wake of new market devices in the auctions; secondly, to look into what changes artifacts bring to the social relationships between auctioneers and dealers; lastly, to analyze the influence of new market devices on auction price in the market. The results of this research are as follows. First, the appearance of new market devices generates changes in the performance of auctions, which means the change of 'agencement' of flower auctions. Direct interactions between auctioneers and dealers turned into indirect interactions through new market devices. Moreover, the changes in the agencement brought changes to the identity of auctioneers and dealers. Secondly, the new agencement caused by the inflow of new market devices formed the trust between the devices and human actors, which gave rise to the trust in electronic auction and in counterpart actors as well. In addition, new market devices lowered direct interactions between auctioneers and dealers and thus made more equal relationships between the two than before. Lastly, market devices like trading screen reduced the leverage of auctioneers by providing dealers with bidding information previously possessed by auctioneers much openly and dealers were able to decide auction prices in more reasonable and dispassionate manner. Economic agency, power, trust, price, and information in the market is material and sensory.


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