Social technologies and the digital commons

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Handbook of Research on Open Source Software: Technological, Economic, and Social Perspectives, 2007, pp. 47 - 67
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This chapter 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. Computing history reveals that technological development has typically been influenced by external sociopolitical forces. However, with the advent of the Internet and 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 projects that combine social technologies and cooperative labour with cultural activism. Innovative digital staging platforms enable creative expression by marginalised communities, and assist movements for social change. The author flags new social relations and shared social imaginaries generated in the nexus between open code and democratic media. In so doing the author aims to contribute tangible, inspiring examples to the emerging interdisciplinary field of software studies."Humanity's capacity to generate new ideas and knowledge is its greatest asset. It is the source of art, science, innovation and economic development. Without it, individuals and societies stagnate. This creative imagination requires access to the ideas, learning and culture of others, past and present" (Boyle, Brindley, Cornish, Correa, Cuplinskas, Deere, et al., 2005) © 2007, IGI Global.
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