CSPP: WHAT DOES IT MEAN? We are delighted to announce the release of the first issue of Critical Studies in Peer Production (CSPP) a new open access, online journal that focuses on the implications of peer production for social change. We understand peer production as a mode of commons-based and oriented production in which participation is voluntary and predicated on the self-selection of tasks. Notable examples are the collaborative development of Free Software projects and of the Wikipedia online encyclopedia. For a general description of our aims please refer to: http://cspp.oekonux.org/
Innovative mechanisms such as discussion of journal policy on publicly archived lists, community vetting of proposals, signaling of published articles by referees, and publication of draft submissions and referee reports will enable Critical Studies in Peer Production to promote reviewer activity and widen the scope of publishable material, whilst also protecting the journal's research credentials. To find out more about our peer review process see: http://cspp.oekonux.org/journal/peer-review
CSPP ISSUE 1: MASS PEER ACTIVISM The inaugural issue of CSPP begins the exploration of whether peer production constitutes an alternative to the social order. The Research section considers peer projects as a form of infra-politics or 'subactivism' which eschews traditional formats and mobilisations, with papers tracking the actions, justifications and legitimations of participants in two emblematic examples of commons-based and oriented peer production, Swedish file-sharing and Wikipedia.
The origins and impacts of the Swedish file-sharing movement Jonas Andersson The recent history of Swedish peer-to-peer-based file-sharing forms part of a wider shift in politics towards a late-modern collective ethic. Everyday file-sharers operate as ‘occasional activists’, as pirate institutions not only speak for, but also run and build the networks. Such institutions cannot be explained by invoking market logics, online communitarianism, or political motivation alone. The cyberliberties activism animating these hubs is connected to the larger framework of balancing utilitarianism, nationalism, individual autonomy and collectivism in Sweden. http://cspp.oekonux.org/research/peer-activism/rs1.1-swedish-file-sharing
The sociology of critique in Wikipedia Mathieu O'Neil Legitimate domination in commons-based peer production projects such as Wikipedia rests on two main principles: the extraordinary qualities of charismatic individuals and collectively-formulated norms and rules. Self-governed authority is in turn based on a critique of separated power in the realms of expertise and justice. It thereby constitutes a prefigurative response to widespread democratic aspirations in technologically advanced societies. What are the questions and issues raised by this critique? And how should we define "critique", anyway? http://cspp.oekonux.org/research/peer-activism/rs-1.2-sociology-of-critique
Debate: ANT and power Johan Soderberg, Nathaniel Tkacz, Mathieu O'Neil Our Debate section aims to foster robust discussions where both parties fully recognise, understand and question each other's position. In this issue, we examine the most productive means of mapping and contesting power, particularly in anti-authoritarian projects. Soderberg begins by elucidating the philosophical foundations on which ANT was built, declaring that many of the attractive features within ANT can be found elsewhere, in a more politically effective tradition, that of Marxism. In response to Soderberg, Tkacz argues that the political insights afforded by ANT are not reducible to the Marxist tradition, and that ANT is especially well suited to describe how force flows through peer-production projects - projects which already perform their own critique of Capital. In reply to Tkacz, O'Neil writes that ANT and Foucault's networked conception of power does not account for how domination is reproduced over time or for people's inner sense of justice, preventing ANT from constituting a credible alternative. http://cspp.oekonux.org/debate/ant-power
Conference reports: Critical Point of View, 3rd Free Culture Research Conference Johana Niesyto & Nathaniel Tkacz, Leonhard Dobusch & Michelle Thorne Too often academic conferences end up only as another notch on a publication list; not enough time is spent assessing, and documenting, what has been learnt in theoretical and organisational terms. Were goals met? What could have been done differently? In our Report section Nyesito & Tkacz and Dobusch & Thorne, the organisers of two conferences which took place in 2010 - Critical Point of View and the 3rd Free Culture Research Conference – offer self-reflective appraisals of the discursive and political impact of conference organisation. http://cspp.oekonux.org/reports