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March 18, 2004
Siva on Free Culture's "Scholarly Partner"
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.
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