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Nov 24 2010

Responsible Design Beyond Open Culture, a Case Study in Video Games

Whether we choose to agree with the suggestion that there has been a fundamental shift in the nature of power in a Foucauldian sense in the past two centuries, we can not help but notice that power and authority may often involve an element of discretion and insidiousness. I am referring to the suggestion that contemporary systems of authority have placed their emphasis on manufacturing consent as opposed to coercing discontent. There is indeed plenty to be said about to what extent today’s technological developments and ways of producing creative work through them, have either restricted or permitted social and individual freedom.

If we are concerned about getting art and technology to work as tools for the permission of such liberties, we have to go beyond contemplating them as objects, and observe them instead as part of a social nexus (Gell 1998), which predates them. My focus will be to look at the emerging forms of production that are associated with the Free and Open Source Software movements. It is perfectly clear that FOSS has had a progressive impact in terms of introducing greater freedom within the context of software development. It is also clear that FOSS does indeed present a unique form of social association, and it can legitimately provide a source of inspiration for everyone concerned about improving the human condition.

Nevertheless, if we get too carried away in emphasising all the unique qualities of FOSS to the point of trumpeting it as a social vanguard we risk losing a whole range of human experiences that contributes to the same cause as FOSS.  What I wish to do is suggest that there are a whole wide range of progressive human struggles outside of the open culture and FOSS movements.

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Nov 15 2010

Walking a Tight Rope: Accounting for Oppression and Resistance.

Comrades!

Writing yet another piece of text about the uniqueness of the human condition in the contemporary context is a tricky enterprise, precisely because there already is a vertiginous amount of literature that has piled up which claim to have solved this question one way or another. One could only hope that acknowledging this fact will redeem this particular paper in comparison with it’s competitors.

The particular aspect of contemporary life I wish to address is the relationship between object (I use a broad definition for object including: ideas, systems, designs etc) and subject.

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