[artinfo] Inaugural issue of Critical Studies in Peer Production

Mathieu ONeil mathieu.oneil at anu.edu.au
Fri Jun 24 12:49:54 CEST 2011

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: 

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.

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?

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.

Conference reports: Critical Point of View, 3rd Free Culture Research 
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 

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