The emergence of a free culture movement

The emergence of a free culture movement An introductory historical contextualization of online creation communities for the building of digital commons

Online Creation Communities (OCCs) are a set of individuals that communicate, interact and collaborate; in several forms and degrees of participation which are eco-systemically integrated; mainly via a platform of participation on the Internet, on which they depend; and aiming at knowledge-making and sharing (Fuster Morell, 2010). OCCs based on certain governance conditions result on the building of a digital commons. On the one hand, the paper provides an historical contextualization of the OCCs.OCCs early development and cultural roots could be found back in 1950s; continue through the appearance and success of the first OCCs around Free and Open source software development in the 1990s, to the later developments in the first decade of the 21st century, particularly with the explosion of commercial Web 2.0, and the new frontiers of potentiality that are evolving. On the other hand, the paper politically contextualize the OCCs. It will show how the development of OCCs is fuelled by and contributes to, the rise of a free culture movement defending and advocating the creation of digital commons. To then provide an empirically grounded definition of free culture movement.

The empirical analyses is based content analysis of 80 interviews to free culture practitioners, promoters and activists with an international background or rooted in Europe, USA and Latino-America and the content analysis of two seminar discussions.1 The data collection was developed from 2008 to 2010.

by Mayo Fuster Morell on July 1st at 10:00 in Workshop I

Mayo Fuster Morell is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Govern and Public Policies (Autonomous University of Barcelona) and visiting scholar at the Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (Open University of Catalonia). She has been appointed Berkman Center of Internet & Society fellow for the academic year 2011-2012. She collaborates in research projects with Science Po and Barcelona Media. She is member of the research committee of the Wikimedia Foundation and the Association Amical Viquipedia. She is promotor of the digital commons forum. She was co-founder of the International Forum on Free Culture and organized its first two editions (2009 & 2010). Additionally, she promoted the Networked Politics collaborative research and developed techno-political tools within the frame of the World Social Forum. She did her PhD thesis at the European University Institute on “The governance of online creation communities: Provision of infrastructure for the building of digital commons”. She co-wrote the books Rethinking Political Organisation in an Age of Movements and Networks (2007), Activist Research and Social Movements (in Spanish, 2005), and Guide for Social Transformation of Catalonia (in Catalan, 2003).


One Response to The emergence of a free culture movement

  1. [...] The emergence of a free culture movement by Mayo Fuster MorellMayo interprets the things going on around free culture as a social movement. In her talk she highlighted similarities and differences between classical social movements and this social movement.I found it interesting to see things this way. As you may know my approach is to see this movement more as the new “class” which is already part of the new society. Its main interest in this society is to support their own interests. This is similar to the early capitalists which supported their own interests in the feudal system. They were more part of the upcoming form of society than the feudal one. I guess it was just as difficult to classify these early capitalists in terms of feudal notions as it is today for the peer production “movement”. I talked to Mayo afterwards and I understood that basically she agrees with this perspective. [...]

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