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  • 1.
    Ferrer Conill, Raul
    et al.
    Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Geography, Media and Communication (from 2013).
    Handler, Reinhard
    Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Geography, Media and Communication (from 2013).
    Open data, crowdsourcing and game mechanics: A case study on civic participation in the digital age2016Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 2.
    Ferrer Conill, Raul
    et al.
    Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Geography, Media and Communication.
    Handler, Reinhard
    Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Geography, Media and Communication.
    The Gamification of Society: The use of game mechanics as an expression of mediatization2016Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 3.
    Handler, Reinhard
    Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Geography, Media and Communication (from 2013).
    Collaboration without consensus - Free and Open Source Software as boundary object2017Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Free and Open Source software (FOSS) has become a popular research object amongst scholars from various disciplines. Within the last decade studies from the humanities critically assessed the social, political, economic and cultural significance of non-proprietary software. By doing so, these studies (just to name a few: Coleman, 2013; Kelty, 2008; Weber, 2004) have a perspective in common that highlights the debates and differences among its participants.

    This contribution adds to the growing body of these critical software studies by focusing on the divergences in FOSS, employing the concept of a boundary object (Star & Griesemer, 1989). Interviews conducted at FOSDEM (Free and Open Source software developer meeting) show that the non-consensual setup of FOSS lets people from different communities of practice use it as a common point of reference (Chrisman, 1999) while allowing different standpoints, opinions, motivations, and values. These differences can be categorised on three levels: The disagreements between advocates of Free and Open Sources software is nothing new. However, the humanities’ focus on peer production, and personae such as the geek, the hacker and the activist have overshadowed that FOSS pairs amateurs and professionals. The growing professionalising of FOSS brings forward the important contributions by entrepreneurs, lawyers, community managers, and – not least - for-profit software companies. Lastly, this analysis concerns the coordination of particular non-proprietary software development projects, exemplifying that participants are granted to leave collaborative projects by copying (forking) the source code, disentangling from a project in order to use the same code as the basis of a new project. By considering these three levels, this paper asks whether FOSS can be conceived as cooperative work that links communities together in collective activities and identities or an alternative set of terms needs to be adapted to capture FOSS and its potential social consequences.

  • 4.
    Handler, Reinhard
    Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Geography, Media and Communication (from 2013).
    Collaborative media practices: A critical perspective in search of an explanation2015Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The concept of »collaborative media« (Löwgren & Reimer 2013) promotes digital media as enabling practices that turn the passive audience into active media producers. Collaboration receives an overly positive connotation accompanied by grand claims of democratisation, equality, proactive participation and community building.

     

    This paper adopts a critical perspective by exploring some of the problematic issues that arise with this optimistic consensus. The logic of collaborative media practices are discussed along these four major points:

    1. Top-down systems are believed to be replaced by collaborative networks that neglect strict hierarchies and are built on ‘trust and long-term cooperation’ (Benkler 2011:1). Do collaborative media practices promote a Post-Fordist model of cooperation in a bureaucratic setting? Or do collaborative practices particularly thrive in project-based settings with a strong emphasis on working together for a limited, and often short, amount of time?

    2. Alongside collaboration, participation (Jenkins 2009) has become a key concept of innovative media practice. Do the terms participation and collaboration express the same idea of users becoming producers (Bruns 2008)? Or do collaborative media practices with its emphasis on hacking the infrastructure promote a different logic? Can we differentiate that from participation as a skillset that describes mastering the new means of production and actively participating in the creation and distribution of artifacts?

    3. Collaboration generally receives a positive connotation as a community experience. Are media collaborators embedded in a stable, coherent community? Or is networked collaboration a project-bound modus operandi that is an expression of a »liquid modernity« (Bauman 2000)?

    4. Claiming collaboration is working among equals. Drawn from the notion of collective intelligence (Lévy 1997), collaboration comes with an equalitarian notion. On the other hand collaborative media practices generally refer to the appropriation of technology by highly skilled amateurs (nerds) while most people are satisfied with consuming finished media products.

  • 5.
    Handler, Reinhard Anton
    Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Geography, Media and Communication.
    Technologies of Collaboration: The Transformation of Hacker Practices into Everyday Life2016In: ECREA 2016  Abstract book, Prague: CZECH-IN , 2016, p. 442-, article id PP488Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper is an expansion of the way we understand collaboration as a model for cultural production and media practices. According to scholarly work, collaboration is the basis for participating in the production of media content (Jenkins 2006), for egalitarian peer production (Benkler 2006), for sharing knowledge (Tapscott & Williams 2008), for collectively creating information and knowledge resources that are non-exclusive (digital commons), to the usage patterns of social networks to “prosuming” and "produsage” (Bruns 2008) and to the cultural consequences of the gifts economics of "sharing". While there is a plethora of literature and research on these particular practices, there is a shortage of analysis on collaboration itself, its roots and the reason for its success.

    Here, collaboration is analysed from a socio-technical perspective of practices rather than from a classic media perspectives. While digital media have become prevalent, the emerged practices cannot be explained with media specifics (Fuchs 2014) in a reference to the computer or the Internet. I argue that collaboration is deeply rooted in the development of computer technologies like Vannevar Bush’s (1944) Memex and hacker culture (open source developers, free software producers). Collaboration carried a libertarian notion that included freedom of knowledge, transparency, independency, openness and sharing as cultural models of creating value. In contrast, there are assessments of collaboration as a mode of control in the media industries (Born & Hesmondhalgh 2000; Jensen & Scacchi 2005). Interviews with open software developers, hackers and entrepreneurs at “Fosdem 2016”, Europe’s biggest conference and meeting for open and free software, show that practices like hacking, coding and programming differ from classic industry environments. Rather, these collaborative practices need to be understood as a craft that is improvised (Agre 1997, p.7). However, this improvisation must not be understood as random acting. It is rather a constant re-negotiation between necessary planning in order to work on complex projects and the curiosity and the crafting skills of hackers (Kelty 2008).

  • 6.
    Handler, Reinhard
    et al.
    Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Geography, Media and Communication.
    Ferrer Conill, Raul
    Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Geography, Media and Communication.
    Open Data, Crowdsourcing and Game Mechanics: A case study on civic participation in the digital age2016In: Computer Supported Cooperative Work, ISSN 0925-9724, E-ISSN 1573-7551, Vol. 25, no 2-3, p. 153-166Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The aim of this paper is to shed light on the dynamics of civic participation, media agency, anddata practices. To do so we analyse an investigative journalism story run by The Guardian that combinedopen data, crowdsourcing and game mechanics with the purpose of engaging readers. The case studyhighlights how data can be made accessible to people who usually do not have access; how game mechanicscan be deployed in order to foster civic participation by offering users a sense of autonomy, competence andrelatedness; and how crowdsourcing can organise a large group of people into achieving a common goal. Thecombination of these three elements resulted in a case for civic participation in the digital era.

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