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Comunicar Journal 55: The Media Sphere. Controversies in Public Life (Vol. 26 - 2018)

Prosumers and emirecs: Analysis of two confronted theories


In the 1970s, the publications of Alvin Toffler and Jean Cloutier were essential for the emergence of two concepts, prosumer, and emirec, whose meanings have been mistakenly equated by numerous scholars and researchers. At the same time, the mercantilist theories linked to prosumption have made invisible the models of communication designed by Cloutier. In this article, configured as a review of the state of the art made from an exhaustive documentary analysis, we observe that, while the notion of prosumer represents vertical and hierarchical relations between companies and citizens, Cloutier's emirec evokes a horizontal relationship and an isonomy between professional and amateur media creators. The prosumption presents an alienated subject, which is integrated into the logic of the market under free work dynamics and from the extension of time and productive spaces, while the emirec is defined as a potentially empowered subject that establishes relations between equals. The theory of the prosumer reproduces the hegemonic economic model by seeking solutions from the field of marketing so that the media and entertainment industries must face the challenges they have to face in the digital world. On the contrary, the emirec theory connects with disruptive communicative models that introduce new relationships between media and audiences and the establishment of logic of affinity between communication participants.