Call For Abstracts on Peer Production, Open Collaboration and Hacking,_a_Hackerspace.jpg

Dear researchers,

We invite you to submit an abstract to our session on the relevance of peer production, open collaboration and hacking to Science and Technology Studies.

The panel is organised for the 4S/ESOCITE conference in Buenos Aires, 20-23 August 2014.

You are welcome to get in touch with us to discuss abstracts informally.
Deadline: March 3 2014
Conference website:

63. Peer production and open collaboration: Revisiting closure, stabilisation and black boxing through unfinished artefacts

Maxigas and Eduard Aibar

This panel seeks to bring together scholars studying peer production processes through STS lenses and concepts. Peer production is a form of network-based voluntary cooperation aimed at contributing to a commons, epitomised by the Linux kernel and Wikipedia and more recently applied to hardware. Case studies of peer production projects can inspire new theoretical developments within STS and simultaneously engender insights on emerging socio-technical ensembles.

Peer producers work a lot to fend off stabilisation, building functional parts (like loose couplings and Application Programming Interfaces) into technologies and organisations which serve to prevent closure. While these mechanisms for openness do stabilise, the resulting technologies are not exactly black boxes whose functional composition is rendered inaccessible to gaze, discourse and engineering. They can be understood as “unfinished artefacts”.

Moreover, shared machine workshops manifest a model which goes against the received wisdom of trade-offs between “professional” expertise and radically open “amateur” contributions. Such open organisational architectures blend in three functions traditionally separate in modern institutions: education, research and production. In this context citizen participation in technological issues is mainly achieved by practical interventions into research and development.

We call for contributors who explore peer production specific projects from a wide range of STS perspectives. One is how stabilisation, closure and black boxing are themselves socially constructed, deconstructed and reconfigured in this arena.Another is the broader structural implications of peer production, since it is usually read as an emerging mode of production with disruptive consequences. Finally, since peer production is increasingly used in a wide range of settings (software development, knowledge production, infrastructure building or farming), the way it is re-enacted and appropriated by new actors can also be of interest to scholars with various theoretical backgrounds.

Languages: English and Spanish

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