Monthly Archives: March 2013

Which context might feed more the increase of the commons, countries with a state presence or those of limited statehood?

I recently met Steven Livingston (Professor School of Media and Public Affairs; The George Washington University) and his work brought me to think common-based peer production (CBPP) from a perspective that I found interesting.

Steven Livingston addressed the question of Digitally Enabled Collective Action in Areas of Limited Statehood. One of the contribution of his work is to do a critique of the focus of scholars analyzing Digitally Enabled Collective Action only in countries of the North where the state is “strong” (even if in crisis); instead he suggests to take attention to the cases in which there is a limited statehood. Which is actually – the lack of State coverage but expanding ICT adoption – the condition in which live a large part of the population in the world. Here you could find a presentation of him.

What this brought me to think is the context of CBPP. To my understanding there has been a limited analysis of the context in CBPP. Most of the research has focused on “how” CBPP works from the perspective of “internal” organizational (and many times micro) aspects, while not considering the macro contextual variables. Yes, there is a sense that the crisis of the state might feed the raise of CBPP, but to my knowledge, there has not been done empirical research which actually has look and “test” the effect of the context in CBPP. For example, if Wikipedias or FLOSS grown more in countries with particular state modalities. Which is a type of question that has been addressed in social movement research.

If we think in terms of level of statehood and CBPP. One could think;
1) that – perhaps surprisingly – CBPP might emerge more in contexts of limited statehood (where there is a lack or weak state) and strong ICT adoption (such as mobile phones in certain African countries), than in context of strong statehood.
In terms of social movements organizing, this would explain the “surprise” of the Arab Spring, a place where it was not easy to expect that was going to be the place in which a global wave of mobilization was going to start.

2) Or that CBPP might emerge both in contexts of limited and strong statehood, but that the raising of the CBPP in these diverse contexts might be feed by diverse causes/processes. In other words, an “strong” statehood might favor CBPP as well as a limited statehood but for divers forces.

Of course, there is also the discussion not on the “level” but the type of State – that supporting the commons (such as some cases in Latino-America) or that basically an instrument for corporate interest. In any case, this perspective could provide some insights in the debate of the triangle State-commons-market.

In sum, my intuition is that to keep an eye in CBPP in context of limited statehood might result in some surprises. However, in these context, CBPP might raise in other modalities (for example, with the case of Ushahidi mapping) different than the “traditional” cases such as Wikipedia and FLOSS, which might make them more difficult to be identified, but also contribute to move the discussion on CBPP beyond these classic examples.

Mayo

Leónidas Martín Saura Lecture Monday April 1st @Harvard on Political art, communication tech & fun

reflectantes

Those enjoying artivism – new technologies & political art – are very lucky. Next week Leònidas Martin Saura – key exponent of the social movements artistic hacking scene in Spain (with actions such as Pret a Revolter, New Kids on the Black Block, V de Vivienda, YoMango, Reflectantes) – will give a ADPD Lecture at the Graduate School of Design (Harvard University).

Details:
Monday, April 01 – 12:00pm – 02:00pm
Stubbins (Room 112), Gund Hall, 48 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA
Event website: http://www.gsd.harvard.edu/#/events/adpd-lecture-le-nidas-martin-saura.html

More about Leo: http://leodecerca.net

I can assure it is going to be politically very savvy & a super fun experience!

Mayo

PD: Yes, I am one of the amazing Reflectantes at the event picture.

… some days later

The presentation went great! And I enjoyed a lot seeing my friend Leo.

Here some lessons from the experiences he presented:

The less you do the better

Creativity can turn around any situation

Make public your private thoughts

Don’t be afraid. Courage word include “cor”, meaning heard

Use your super powers to reflect back

Make visible the invisible

Transform your anger into fun

If you can act it out, it’s real

Life lessons & guidelines: A hacker’s perspective

This March I participated in a seminar around the question “Whose Change is it Anyway?” at The Hague organized by Hivos and my friend Nishant Shah. The methodology was very experimental. I joined the experiments by doing a “One question interview” to each of the participants asking them for guidelines they use in their life – with a focus on what they did learn from the hackers ethics (as most of us were hackers), but not only. Here is the list of life lessons I collected. Hope you enjoy it! Mayo

Life lessons – Shared by Whose change group. The Hague March 2013.

* Break the non-sense locks
Break the rules/walls if they are stopping your from doing a good thing for many without harnessing none. An advise from a hacker.

* If you know how to, just fix it!
Those fixing things must not be punished, even if doing it in a not conventional manner or a manner that question authority. An advise from a hacker.

* Do not propose, but do!

* Fail cheap

* Be brave to be different

* There is not try, do or not do.
Do things hard.

* With great powers, come great responsibility.
Do not use your capacities and qualities only to yourself, but act with collective responsibility.

* Here & now

* To taste an idea, say it load.
Even if you say it to your self, vocalizing things will help you to see the idea with certain perspective.

* Forgot about the box and get thinking
This is a critique to the idea of “thinking outside the box”, the point is that there is not box.

* Get close to the place where you want to be and create the opportunity to get in.

* Act with serendipity. Do things without clear porpuse, they might end up on great connexions.

* Learns from the lessons of what previous people did in the same situation.

* Share to keep learning.

* Many eyes make all bugs shallow

* Keep progress

* Anger makes you engage, love makes you go further.

* Live each day as if it would be be your last.

* Be open and smille

* Find new language to represent reality all the time.
Do not try to keep to existing forms just becouse they worked at some point, they might not be the ones adapted to the new context.

* Never read people as things.

* Thinks twice.

* Think before you speak.

* Eat your dog food.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eating_your_own_dog_food
(Hackers principle).

* Use free software, even for more reasons if you engage on digital politics issues.