At home with Gumtree: a cultural analysis of Australia’s popular secondhand online marketplace

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Abstract

Shopping has received extensive scholarly attention across humanities and social science disciplines as an important set of activities that shape values, identities and politics in consumer societies. Cultural (or culturally inspired) investigations have offered rich accounts of department stores, shopping centres, street markets and secondhand outlets, theorising complex dynamics that create consumption spaces and shopping experiences in context-specific ways. This literature, and particularly Gregson and Crewe’s influential studies of secondhand retail, serves as the theoretical framework for my cultural analysis of Gumtree, the popular online classified site used for trading secondhand goods, accommodation and services in Australia. Online marketplaces are redefining everyday trade but have not been the subject of much comprehensive discussion within cultural studies. The article examines representational and branding strategies pursued by the platform, which, now owned by the global company Adevinta and previously by eBay, promotes itself as a sustainable, local and social marketplace. The study discusses interrelated and ambiguous areas in Gumtree’s identity-making to explain its distinct place in Australia’s secondhand consumer markets, and more broadly, the role that online marketplaces play in contemporary retail cultural economies.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages23
JournalEuropean Journal of Cultural Studies
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022

Keywords

  • Australia
  • consumption
  • Gumtree
  • identity
  • online marketplace
  • secondhand
  • sociality
  • sustainability

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