Grilling Peer Production with Weber

March 23, 2011 | 6 minutes

Kreiss, D., M. Finn, and F. Turner. 2010. “The Limits of Peer Production: Some Reminders from Max Weber for the Network Society.” _New Media & Societ_y 13:243-259. (Accessed December 14, 2010).

A new article in New Media and Society proposes that we go back to our Weber for a fresh wake-up call concerning the heady promises of peer production. It’s a good article for one good reason: it characterizes some of the basic features of what they call the “consensus view” of peer production. The consensus view includes claims that 1) peer production is psychologically gratifying labor (which is good), 2) it leads to egalitarianism and efficiency 3) it realizes ethical relationships between collaborators (?), 4) that peer production is a mode equally suited to all domains, and 5) that it is nonmarket and nonproprietary. Aside from the cryptic one about ethical relationships, these are all fair characterizations of a “consensus” view… tif you believe such a consensus exists, rather than a cacophony of scholars and pundits with their own reasons: a few first movers (Lessig, Benkler) that have since moved on to their next project, a few loudmouths (Shirky, Weinberger) who don’t really care at all about scholarship but love being in the limelight (Clay Shirky writing for Foreign Affairs!) and a few others (Jenkins and everyone in cultural studies) who are just a little too giddy with excitement about fan culture.

Bastard Culture! and Peer Production Studies

March 21, 2011 |

A relevant book and a bevy of articles on peer production emerged recently: Bastard Culture! How User Participation Transforms Cultural Production by Mirko Tobias Schäfer …and New Media and Society bringing it in the recent edition: The limits of peer production: Some reminders from Max Weber for the network society by Daniel Kreiss, Megan Finn, and Fred Turner, New Media & Society 2011;13 243-259 Factors influencing the willingness to contribute information to online communities by Xigen Li, New Media & Society 2011;13 279-296 http://nms.

The Prosumer Studies Working Group

February 23, 2011 |

Here is an obvious kindred spirit. The founders, G. Ritzer and N. Jurgenson, have written a rather experimental text “Production, Consumption, Prosumption: The Nature of Capitalism in the Age of the Digital “Prosumer.” In it, they posit that a new form of capitalism is emerging based on free digital handouts and collaborative consumption. Not as corporate/complicit as Axel Bruns and his notion of liberated and transformational ‘produsage,’ prosumption retains an element of critique, curiosity, and concern over this emergent digital economy.

Cuddly Corporate Collaborators

February 20, 2011 |

A Washington Post article today by Greg Ferenstein, “In a Cutthroat World, Some Web Giants Thrive by Collaborating,” is a light survey of Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Apple and their internal and external policies of sharing from APIs to intrafirm competition/collaboration. Pretty puffy piece but some nicely observed data. Includes a nice analysis of Google’s risks and pleasures of their open Chrome browser. I’ve met Ferenstein and yes he has drank the zealous punch of lateral organizations inside media firms.

Lay Science: The Puppet Musical

February 10, 2011 | 2 minutes

Machine Project is running a puppet show about Lay Science and Art **Lay Science: a project by Eric Lindley and Katie Shook, in residence at Machine Project ** _January 23rd – February 26th, 2011 _ more info here. PROJECT DESCRIPTION: What if art could have a measurable function in the world? What if people outside the scope of academia had the resources to practice sound, scientific research? Lay Science, a collaboration between Eric Lindley and Katie Shook, is an exploration into the literal use-value of art, and a critique of institutionalized scientific research.

Exploring New Configurations of Network Politics

February 7, 2011 |

Here’s an analogous organization seeking collaborations. Exploring New Configurations of Network Politics The project will explore the intersection of politics, networks and cultural practices. The network will work on an analysis of how the emergence of a ‘network society’ is reshaping the ground upon which we think about politics and culture. The primary objective is therefore to open up a dialogue between researchers, practitioners and activists that begins to map this important new domain of social, political and cultural production.

Media Industries Project

February 3, 2011 |

For consideration for collaboration, I introduce UCSB’s Media Industries Project chaired by one of my favorite professors, Jennifer Holt. The Media Industries Project brings together industry practitioners, policy experts, and leading scholars into lively dialogue on the future prospects of modern media. Focusing especially on digital media, globalization, and creative labor, the Project provides independent analysis of key trends and developments in media culture. They focus on areas such as:

4 Conferences for Part.Pub.Part.Lab People

February 3, 2011 |

7th International Symposium on Wikis and Open Collaboration October 3-5, 2011 | Mountain View, California The premier conference on open collaboration and related technologies for researchers, industry, entrepreneurs and practitioners worldwide. Panel and Papers due April 1, 2011. The Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference in Boulder, Colorado, from September 18 to 21, 2011. Papers due March 15, 2011. Internet Research 12.0 – Performance and Participation The 12th annual conference of the Association of Internet Researchers (AoIR), an international association for students and scholars in any discipline in the field of of Internet studies.

Participatory Genomics

January 7, 2011 |

Coming up, a talk from Jenny Reardon

Participatory Engineering

January 5, 2011 |

Recently, I found a book called “Participatory democracy and Political Participation: Can participatory engineering bring citizens back in?” by Thomas Zittel, Dieter Fuchs (2007). The notion of “participatory engineering” should probably sound eerie, propagandistic and sinister, but apparently it doesn’t to these guys. In fact, it’s part of what seems to be an explosion of reform proposals for participatory democracy. Two websites have collections of such “engineering” ideas. One is a mysterious, seemingly british thing called “People and Participation” and the other is Participedia.