#CritLit2010 reflections – fifth week


“We live in a complex and fast time in a hundred new and different in the beginning of a time you will see the biggest changes in the history of mankind”.

This is the way Manuel Castells interprets the actual era in an interview conducted by journalist Mayte Pascual entitled, What world do we live?

I am  interested to start to the topic of this week “Context” with the concept of “complexity” which is a sign of our times. Castells says we are at a crucial time transformation in multiple dimensions. Everywhere we see and experience fluctuations, evolution, diversification, changes. It seems that the ICT has accelerated exponentially our perception of this process. Unlike other times, humankind is hyper connected, in an evolutionary stage privileged. The conversion technology has led to a progressive process of abandonment of specific physical labor of the eighteenth century to open happened to intellectual work, forming a new subjectivity.

This change is happening a major transformation in the ways in which we constituted as subjects: our ways of being and being in the world are distancing themselves from typically modern modalities of being and being in the world. (Paula Sibilia, Postorganic Humankind, 2002)

Regarding this, as raised in the article “Streams of Content,Limited Attention: The Flow of Information through Social Media” Danah Boyd. In the article, Boyd express this way of being  with the stream metaphor.

There is a mode of being “connected” or as she called to be “in flow” in an information  landscape defined by networked media. She said that it is possible because there is a channel of  distribution available to everyone and between everyone.

On the contrary, is the moment of human history in which we are more connected and the lower the social distribution of wealth.

There are some particular topics that I found among the articles suggested this week that let me characterized the actual complex context:

  • Digital Culture
  • Economy: pro commons
  • Platform & Control
  • Sustainability

Digital Culture

The values we live are the values of a Digital Culture. Culture is the core area where society generates and transmits generational values.

Our Culture is a Digital Culture. This culture presents several issues.

In the article “When using open source makes you an enemy of the state” by Bobbie Johnson, can warn the issues on digital rights and property intellectual impose new regulations on the progress of culture and dissemination of knowledge in the context of digital society.

As Lawrence Lessig expressed on his book “Free culture”,

“Cultures are cultures that leave free much open to others to rely on it, those which are not free, cultures leave much less permission. Ours is a free culture. It is becoming one that it is a much lesser degree”.

Regarding this, there is a paradox question if Is the code or law that sends?

Manifestations of digital culture change are in a Hacker Culture which has a new moral: work as a benefit for the common good, not to accumulate wealth. Culture Hacker (Pekka Himanen, Ethical Hacker) is a new ethic, unlike the Protestant ethic work. Mainly has a purpose for the contribution of the common good, Pekka described extensively in his work as a collaborative model.

Should we acquire new competencies as, for example, Ethical Hacker in order to take part of this new Digital Culture?

Economy: pro commons

“The multiple crises in food & development, climate & environment and finance mirror a crisis of ideas. Therefore, fresh, coherent and powerful ideas are urgently needed” citate Silke Helfrich on her interesting article “World Social Forum: 10 years after: Elements of a new agenda: The Commons”.

The author argues consistently the reasons of a common paradigm for social movements and beyond. Far from reach the UN Millennium Development Goals for 2015 and despite to consider ideological critically “socialism” ideology of Silke, her point of view provides an interesting alternative to consider among the complexity of economy problems.

Dominant values which are far from collective responsibility, interest for general wellbeing, the extreme consumism, indicates that conducts associates whith them may conduce to weaken the social fabric and lead to regressive impacts.

Silke express: “The commons are a powerful, self-enabling and self-empowering concept to constantly recreate a dignified life. It is what we need to build a diverse and irresistible movement based on a coherent political and conceptual  thinking.”

¿Is the power of commons or is the new system of values we should reflect on politic, economic, social arena that could guide us to the needed change?

Yochai Benkler amplify this issue in his interesting essay: “La economía política del procomún” .

Platform & Control

In “Pondering a rogue cloud; Will platform providers cave to business, government interests?” by Larry Dignan we can see how under which business logic is articulating the laws of copyright (or copyright) is one of the main barriers to the development of culture in especially in digital environments .  According to the expansion of technology and distribution creating pressure groups have prompted a review by the owners of copyright.

In this regard, the emergence of the Internet, open battle between those who want to control this new space for creation and dissemination of knowledge through more and more restrictions on copyright regulations, and those who promote the principles of free movement knowledge and information. In that sense, it addresses the idea of a free culture or  permission culture. There are many examples of alternatives for a Free culture onADDIE Part 3: Develop – Other than copyright resources” posted on “Orientation the on line learning”, Google´s site.

Regarding this, to what extent,

“justifies government should intervene to support the old way of doing business? If the government had always done this, there would not have been progress and innovation. Do we understand the effects of the changes to the content industry?

Types of laws, restrictions or regulations, by Lessig, Lawrence in Free Culture


We have reached a moment in history in which all developments of techno science, our ability to produce great wealth, the new means of social interaction, which
an increasing number of people has the opportunity to express their creativity.

To this and reflecting on the question posed at the beggining of this essay, we might ask

whether are we in a position to collectively build a new era based on sustainability?
Are we in a position to share knowledge and responsibly take the radical changes that occur?

With only five years left until the 2015 deadline to achieve the UN Millennium Development Goals, opportunities to share knowledge, access to natural resources, and culture are becoming technically impossible and sometimes illegal under restrictive policies.

To what extent, work on the cultural aspect may be an attractor of change to promote cooperation, mutual responsibility, care for the collective good, the attitudes towards equity, democratic attitudes, can contribute to development and good end of society as a whole?.

I would like to end with this phrase that led me to answer the question of the power that John Mark made on his blog post “#CritLit2010 Context – Power”  and showed on his forum post:

“Our society needs more and more people work for their training can see beyond the immediate horizon that we all have limits.” Mayte Pascual, 2006

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2 Responses to #CritLit2010 reflections – fifth week

  1. Heli Nurmi says:

    I greatly appreciate your posts and feel nearness – I have many years said that Castells & Himanen’s Hacker ethic describes my values. Thanks again!

  2. Pingback: It Box @ All Around the World News

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