Social Technologies and the Digital Commons
da Rimini, Francesca. 2007, 'Social Technologies and the Digital Commons', in K. St.Amant & B. Still (eds), Handbook of Research on Open Source Software: Technological, Economic, and Social Perspectives, IGI Global, Hershey, PA, pp. 47-67.
23 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2013
Date Written: September 23, 2006
This paper investigates the premise that software is culture. It explores this proposition through the lens of peer production of knowledge-based goods circulating in the electronic space of a digital commons, and the material space of free media labs. Highlights from computing history demonstrate that technological development was always influenced by powerful external socio-political forces. However, with the advent of the internet and the significant contributions made by the free software movement, such development is no longer solely shaped by an elite class. Dyne:bolic, Streamtime and the Container Project are three autonomously-managed initiatives that combine social technologies with cultural activism, to create new staging platforms enabling creative expression by marginalised communities, and assisting movements for social change. By speculating that new social relations and shared social imaginaries might be generated by the cooperative communication underpinning open code, the author hopes to broaden the scope of software studies.
Keywords: digital commons, free software, immaterial labour, peer production, radical media, software culture, social software, software activism
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