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July 2, 2004
Culture of Hope
Siva Vaidyanathan does a lot of excellent work evangelizing the importance of keeping our culture free. So I'm delighted to see his proposal for an academic counterpart to the free culture movement gain traction. Writes Jessica Clark @ In These Times (emphasis, mine):
A more hopeful model [for cultural theory and criticism] was proposed [in a recent talk] by Siva Vaidhynathan...He outlined the work of a diverse and lively cadre of economists, sociologists, linguists, anthropologists, ethnomusicologists, communications scholars, lawyers, computer scientists, philosophers, librarians, literary scholars, and historians who work together to explore an emerging set of concerns. These include intellectual property, fair use, the impact of legal and computer codes on cultural practices and production, and what he called "semiotic democracy" -- that is, "citizens' ability to employ the signs and symbols ubiquitous in their environments in manners that they determine," such as the right to make meaning from, read, and revise cultural products.
What distinguishes critical information studies from cultural studies is that its practitioners are committed to both open source scholarship and open communication with members of the public. Rather than obfuscating everyday practices by filtering them through veils of theory, they clarify complex technological and legal structures and demonstrate their cultural implications.
Marvelous. Clark strongly recommends reading Siva's The Anarchist In The Library: How The Clash Between Freedom And Control Is Hacking The Real World And Crashing The System
, for its "grounded and readable insights"; I do, too.
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