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Beating them at their own game: The cultural politics of the open software movement and the gift economy

Best, K. (2003) Beating them at their own game: The cultural politics of the open software movement and the gift economy. International Journal of Cultural Studies, 6 (4). pp. 449-470.

Link to Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/136787790364004
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Abstract

This article interrogates the validity of claims that the open software movement provides a substantial alternative to intellectual property and a challenge to the encroaching commodification of digital space. The open software movement is participating in ongoing language wars of the new communication technologies; it is attempting to redefine the social and economic value of information and computer networking, and as such does present a challenge to digital commodification. However, this challenge is not mounted through traditional and public-oriented modes of cultural politics but instead through personal and bodily re-imaginings and a direct engagement with the new technologies. Indeed, similarities exist between discourses of the open software movement and capitalist discourses of flexible work and the reinvention of labour as temporary, transient and empowered. In sum, the open software movement can be considered to enable forms of visceral democracy, and its political potential is capacitated but also restricted by this form of cultural politics.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Sage Publications
Copyright: 2003 SAGE Publications
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/9293
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