The Functions of Social Interaction in the Knowledge-Creative Economy: Between Co-Presence and ICT-Mediated Social Relations


  • Marianna d’Ovidio Department of Political Sciences, University of Bari "Aldo Moro"
  • Alessandro Gandini Department of Social and Political Sciences, University of Milan



social interactions, co-presence, ICT-mediated interactions, knowledge-creative workers, Milan


This article investigates the role and functions of interaction among knowledge-creative workers in Milan. While a large body of literature supports the relevance of co-presence for the building of social capital in creative scenes, a growing body of empirical and theoretical research shows in fact that, under certain circumstances, social relations mediated by digital tools are equally important. The extent to which professionals in these industries are embedded in “spaces” which are physical as well as digital, and how these have come to be so, remains nevertheless an under-explored research question. Building on findings from two distinct qualitative researches on knowledge-creative workers in Milan, undertaken in 2008 and 2011-13, it is here argued that knowledge-creative professionals are embedded in a wider “space” of relations where exchanges mediated via ICTs productively intertwine with face-to-face interaction to determine new ways of searching for jobs and practicing work. The paper highlights what changes when proximity becomes physical and digital as a mixture of face-to-face and ICT-mediated interaction, and discusses contradictions and implications of their blending, showing the necessity to overcome the rigid distinction between face-to-face and digital interaction that still characterises the empirical study of knowledge-creative economies.


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How to Cite

d’Ovidio, M., & Gandini, A. (2019). The Functions of Social Interaction in the Knowledge-Creative Economy: Between Co-Presence and ICT-Mediated Social Relations. Sociologica, 13(1), 51–66.