Wikipedia, Work and Capitalism: A Realm of Freedom?
2017 (English)Book (Refereed)
This study is about voluntary productive activities in digital networks and on digital platforms that often are described as pleasurable. The aim of the study is to relate the peer producers’ perceptions of their activities on a micro level in terms of play, game, work and labour, to their views on Wikipedia’s relation to capitalism on a macro level, to compare the identified ideological formations on both levels and how they relate to each other, and finally compare the identified ideological formations with contemporary Marxist theory on cognitive capitalism. The intention is to perform a critical evaluation of the economic role of peer production in society.Qualitative and semi-structured interviews with eight Wikipedians active within the Swedish language version of Wikipedia constitute the empirical base of the study together with one public lecture by a Wikipedian on the encyclopaedia and a selection of pages in the encyclopaedia that are text analysed. The transcribed interviews have been analysed using a version of ideological analysis as it has been developed by the Gothenburg School. The views on the peer producing activities on the micro level has been analysed in a dialectical way but is also grounded in a specific field model.Six ideological formations are identified in the empirical material. On the micro level: the peripheral, bottom-up- and top-down-formation, on the macro level: the Californian alikeness ideology, communism of capital and capitalism of communism. Communism of capital has two sides to it: one stresses the synergies and the other the conflicts between the two phenomena. The formations on the macro level conform broadly to contemporary Marxist theory, but there are important differences as well. The study results in a hypothesis that the critical side of communism of capital and the peripheral and bottom-up-formation could help to further a more sustainable capitalism of communism, and counteract a deeper integration of the top-down-formation with Californian alikeness ideology. The latter is the main risk of capitalist co-optation of the peer production that is underway as the manifestly dominant formations on the macro level are Californian alikeness ideology and communism of capital
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017. , 240 p.
, Dynamics of Virtual Work
Wikipedia, Peer Production, Crowdsourcing, Digital Labour, Digital Work, Wikipedians, Ideology, Ideology Analysis, Historical Materialism, Marxism, Autonomist Marxism, Capitalism, Cognitive Capitalism, Communism of Capital, Capitalism of Communism, Play, Playing, Work, Working, Gaming, Labour, Labouring, Mode of Production
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-274187OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-274187DiVA: diva2:895912