Journal of Peer Production - New perspectives on the implications of peer production for social change New perspectives on the implications of peer production for social change
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JoPP Signal:
12/15
Title: The origins and impacts of Swedish filesharing: a case study
Author/s: Jonas Andersson
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Abstract:
If it is possible to speak of a coherent file-sharing movement in Sweden, what are the principal societal factors shaping it? This paper contextualises the recent history of Swedish peer-to-peer-based file-sharing as forming 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 - The Pirate Bay, Piratbyrån, and The Pirate Party - 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. Further, the emergent Swedish file-sharing justificatory regime hinges on a general view of what the internet is, what it is good for, and how it should look in the future, as the file-sharer argumentation rests on the inevitability of unrestricted file exchange on the internet, while the industrialist concerns of the cultural industries emphasize instead how exchange should be regulated and sanctioned by accountable providers.

Keywords:
P2P, Peer­-to-­peer, file­sharing, The Pirate Bay, cyberliberties, individualization, post­materialism, Sweden

JoPP Signal:
14/15
Title: The sociology of critique in Wikipedia
Author/s: Mathieu O'Neil
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Abstract:
This paper presents a new conceptual framework for the analysis of authority in anti-authoritarian environments. 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. However this conceptual framework also raises analytical and practical questions. In the first instance, critiques of separation on Wikipedia are hindered by the persistent regard for outside expertise, and by perceptions that justice is unfairly applied because of the ever-increasing power of the administrative caste as well as the anonymity of some participants. Second, the proposed sociology of critical actions in Wikipedia requires discussions of specific decisions by project officers and may thus contradict traditional ethical prohibitions regarding the identifications of online research subjects, suggesting the need for a clarification of the aims of research into peer production projects.

Keywords: