The 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:
9.5/10
Title: Stuff Matters In Participation: Infrastructuring a co-sewing safé
Author/s: Anja-Lisa Hirscher and Ramia Mazé
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Abstract:

This paper explores how acts of use and participation can be better understood and articulated in relation to the socio-material and spatial conditions of “infrastructuring”. Infrastructuring is framed here as an object of design research and of design research, comprising the social activities and skills as well as the material tools and “stuff” that are integral to alternative spaces of production such as Fab Labs and makerspaces. We bring together theories from three different areas of research (peer production, Participatory Design and social practice theory), building a conceptual framework that is used to analyze extensive empirical material gathered while initiating, running and researching a ‘co-sewing café’ over 18 months with hundreds of diverse participants. Tracing our understanding of use and participation through literature and case analysis, we use illustrative figures and tables to articulate different types and dimensions of use in relation to one another and in relation to the empirical analysis that is detailed and recounted in various ways. The paper concludes by elaborating how types of use in reference to types of stuff provide insight on participant skills, learning and engagement that can result in change of roles over time.

Keywords:
Infrastructuring, makerspaces, peer production, design, participatory design, user, use

JoPP Signal:
8.5/10
Title: Open Source Beyond Software: Re-invent Open Design on the Common's Ground
Author/s: Kosmas Gavras
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Abstract:
The definition of open source hardware (OSH) is focused on electronic or mechanical hardware but less is known about the OSH subset that is neither electronic nor mechanical. In general, the OSH theoretical framework is summarised as the imposition of open source software’s (OSS) licensing scheme on conventional design workflow, omitting the fact that the license is not the only difference between open source and proprietary code. Also, the OSH definitions overlook the broader context related to hardware’s material nature as illustrated by the socio-technological implications of digital fabrication. Based on a hybrid quantitative-qualitative analysis of three case studies from the less examined OSH’s subset, we manage to: i) demonstrate the limited applicability of current OSH definition and describe the points that lack specificity, ii) propose an optimized and detailed definition based on the pre-existing framework, and iii) reveal structural inconsistencies of OSH theory and highlight emergent practices that may constitute a hopeful future answer. As more and more researchers realize the catalytic potential of the open source methodology, but at the same time refer to the non-automatic process to turn open source everything, it will be indispensable to design a thoughtful and motivational OSH theory.

Keywords:
Open Design, Open Source Hardware, Digital fabrication, Computational Design, Digital Commons

JoPP Signal:
9.5/10
Title: Openness, Inclusion and Self-Affirmation: Indigenous Knowledge in Open Knowledge Projects
Author/s: Nathalie Casemajor, Christian Coocoo, and Karine Gentelet
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Abstract:
This paper is based on an action research project (Greenwood and Levin, 1998) conducted in 2016-2017 in partnership with the Atikamekw Nehirowisiw Nation and Wikimedia Canada. Built into the educational curriculum of a secondary school on the Manawan reserve, the project led to the launch of a Wikipedia encyclopaedia in the Atikamekw Nehirowisiw language. We discuss the results of the project by examining the challenges and opportunities raised in the collaborative process of creating Wikimedia content in the Atikamekw Nehirowisiw language. What are the conditions of inclusion of Indigenous and traditional knowledge in open projects? What are the cultural and political dimensions of empowerment in this relationship between openness and inclusion? How do the processes of inclusion and negotiation of openness affect Indigenous skills and worlding processes? Drawing from media studies, indigenous studies and science and technology studies, we adopt an ecological perspective (Star, 2010) to analyse the complex relationships and interactions between knowledge practices, ecosystems and infrastructures. The material presented in this paper is the result of the group of participants’ collective reflection digested by one Atikamekw Nehirowisiw and two settlers. Each co-writer then brings his/her own expertise and speaks from what he or she knows and has been trained for.

Keywords:
Wikimedia, Indigenous, knowledge, openness

JoPP Signal:
8/10
Title: A topological space for design, participation and production. Tracking spaces of transformation
Author/s: Sandra Álvaro Sánchez
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Abstract:

‘Space of transformation’ is a concept borrowed from Serres’ communication theory and here redefined after the evolution of the post-digital milieu and the materialistic critique of the same. Hackerspaces, fablabs, medialabs and other shared machines shops are defined here as spaces of transformation, places for the encounter between humans and non-humans, where disciplines are bridged together, hitherto severed, giving place to collective practices related to education, production and society.

Shared machine shops are sited locally but also connected globally. Online, they share innovative forms of production, education and collective organization, giving place to a complex ecosystem. This article presents an analysis of the topology of this ecosystem conducted by means of tracking and visualizing the online interactions between the hackerspaces listed at the platform Hackerspaces.org. The application of network analysis is aimed to answer the research questions: First, how shared machine shops are locally and globally connected? Second, what links hackerspaces among them and these with new social issues? The concept of shared machine shops as spaces of transformation and the study of their mutual relations allows for an understanding of the transformative capacity of these spaces and how they are producing a new space for social innovation through its mutual interchange of information.

Keywords:
hackerspaces, network analysis, design, social innovation, space of transformation

JoPP Signal:
4.5/5
Title: Decentralizing geographies of political action: Civic tech and place-based municipalism
Author/s: Syed Omer Husain, Alex Franklin, Dirk Roep
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Abstract:
This article introduces the concept of ‘place-based civic tech’ — citizen engagement technology codesigned by local government, civil society and global volunteers. It investigates to what extent creating such a digital space for autonomous self-organization allows for the emergence of a parallel, self-determining and more place-based geography of politics and political action. It finds that combining online tools with offline collaborative practices presents a unique opportunity for decentralization of power and decision-making in a manner which both politically motivates civil society and begins to update the infrastructure of democracy. The discussion is supported by a combination of primary and secondary data, with research methods including ethnographic and participatory observation techniques. Research data is drawn from a range of empirical sources, including an in-depth case study of the radical municipalist movement in Spain. The article concludes that there is a clear and compelling narrative of cities taking power back, in the form of a plural and globally networked movement. As such, this study contributes to both the theory and practice of civic tech, collective impact, municipalism and place-based urban politics while emphasizing the need for further research on experiments and movements currently existing below the academic radar.

Keywords:
civic tech; decentralization; open source; place-based; democracy; political action; municipalism; radical; collaborative; participatory; Madrid