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About this weblog
Here we'll explore the nexus of legal rulings, Capitol Hill policy-making, technical standards development, and technological innovation that creates -- and will recreate -- the networked world as we know it. Among the topics we'll touch on: intellectual property conflicts, technical architecture and innovation, the evolution of copyright, private vs. public interests in Net policy-making, lobbying and the law, and more.

Disclaimer: the opinions expressed in this weblog are those of the authors and not of their respective institutions.

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In the Pipeline: Don't miss Derek Lowe's excellent commentary on drug discovery and the pharma industry in general at In the Pipeline

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March 18, 2004

Siva on Free Culture's "Scholarly Partner"

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Posted by

Siva Vaidhyanathan has a question of interest to copyfighters of the scholarly persuasion: What should we call the emerging field of study that recognizes the architectural element to expression in the networked environment? Or, as Siva puts it, the "scholarly partner" to the Free Culture movement?

Siva's trial balloon is "Critical Information Studies," a term he suggests might encompass work by economists, communication scholars, lawyers, computer scientists, librarians and others to interrogate the "structures, functions, habits, norms, and practices that guide global flows of information and cultural elements."

Central to this field of inquiry, writes Siva, is a concept many of us have begun to call "semiotic democracy," or the ability of citizens to "employ the signs and symbols ubiquitous in their environments in manners that they determine."

To my view, Siva's term works rather well--I've seen "critical media studies," but that doesn't connote information/networked environments specifically.

What do you think? If you have a thought or two to share, do let me or Siva know.

Comments (1) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Big Thoughts


COMMENTS

1. greglas on March 22, 2004 4:25 PM writes...

No offense, but CIS reminds me of post-Soviet Russia.

"Semiotic democracy" is a catchy phrase and Fisher and Coombe have built a good theoretical foundation for what it means. (I haven't read Fiske yet, but I understand it comes from him.) The only problem, I think, is that it finds its best fit with Coombe's concerns, not with free culture vis-a-vis copyright.

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