The democratic promise of the Internet has remained partly unfulfilled. It is still doubtful how the use of new collaborative tools (wikis, blogs, forums, mailing lists, podcasting, and videos) can transform the ways politics are practiced and how the increasing prospects for larger political participation can result to the emergence of active citizens. Perhaps, it is essential to start from the concrete: Wiki politics is a concept that encompasses existing practices which instantly give birth to new democratic forms. They produce a particular form of political participation -horizontal and equitable- which operates on the basis of the principles of decentralisation and openness. This issue aims to explore the openings that the concept of the ‘wiki politics’ presents for democratic theory and practice.
New online journal Re-public < www.republic.gr/en >, has just published the first part of its special issue “Wiki politics”. The issue explores how the use of new collaborative tools (wikis, blogs, forums, mailing lists, podcasting, and videos) can transform the ways politics are practiced. Articles include:
McKenzie Wark celebrates Wikipedia as an example of a new kind of social relation, as a model for producing knowledge outside the commodity form…
An interview with the author of A Hacker’s Manifesto on how wikipedia is an example of a new kind of social relation.
Geert Lovink – Theses on wiki politics
Wikis reflect a culture of pragmatic non-commitment, argues Geert Lovink. One edits, adds, deletes, changes and quits. Then it is time to stand up, get a coffee, smoke a cigarette, talk on the phone or chats, and return to the screen again…
Trebor Scholz – What the MySpace generation should know about working for free
Driven by hormones and a sea of desires, millions are sucked into networked screens for hours on end. For the media and news industries these are the heydays of participatory cultures. Cultural anthropologists study “interactivity,” and the networked sociality of teens, fans, and bloggers of all ages who are trying to impress their friends or seek a platform for their ideas. Rather than balancing affordances and pitfalls (democratizing effects such as the massification of voice and harmful aspects such as addiction and continuous partial attention), this essay focuses on creative labor from the perspective of the MySpace generation.
MySpace addicts formulate comments, tag, rank, forward, read, subscribe, re-post media, link, moderate, remix, share, collaborate, favorite, and write. What kind of labor is this, asks Trebor Scholz?
Michel Bauwens – P2P politics, the state, and the renewal of the emancipatory traditions
Michel Bauwens explores the possibilities opened up by P2P projects for progressive politics, arguing that they could present an alternative to neoliberal privatization, and to the Blairite introduction of private logics in the public sphere.
All articles of Re-public are published with a Creative Commons license and can be re-printed freely, by acknowledging their source.