Research:Information, culture and knowledge: New citizens’ practices, new public policies. A case comparison of Spain and United States
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Abstract: The research is driven by policy considerations as well as the search for modes of interaction between citizens, civil society and political institutions that can address the challenges of a knowledge-based society. The project addresses the emerging free culture movement, how contextual factors shapes it and its interaction with political institutions in the policy making process, bridging public policy approaches to cyberlaw, digital economy studies, organizational theory, and social movement theory, as well as linking sociology and political science more generally. This research aims to fill two main gaps and connect two areas of research: to expand public policy analysis into a new area; and to incorporate a socio-political and social movement dimension of the free culture analysis developed in cyberlaw and organizational studies. In doing so, it aims to go beyond the current literature mainly based on single case studies to compare several national - base cases and approach if and how contextual attributes contribute to shape civic society organizations. In a comparative perspective, we aim at developing a description and an understanding of the conditions and mechanisms that link civil society organizations and policy making. More precisely, this research aims to contribute scientific evidence of the movement that has recently mobilized around the regulation of Intellectual property and the access and management of information, culture and knowledge, and rethink the answers of policy-makers and their adaptation to this new source of social conflict. The central aim of this research is to analyze in comparative terms the emerging practices of information dissemination and active citizens’ cultural creation as they emerge in the theorization and practices of the free culture movement, and the approaches present in this movement in terms of its interaction with political institutions in policy-making. The FCM practices will be analyzed in terms of forms, composition, networking and strategies towards policy-makers. The research aims to explain how those visions and practices present in the FCM are shaped by attributes of the context of political opportunity. Two attributes will be considered: the styles of policy-making and the industrial transformation of the crisis of copyrighting and the emergence of copyleft business models. In terms of policy-making styles we will distinguish between an "consensus" style characterized by the building of relationships with civil society actors based on openness to their involvement and the search for consensus; and a "imposition" style based on the contrary. Additionally, the FCM is a good case to reflect on how Information and communication Technologies are reshaping the mode of interaction between citizens and civil society and political institutions in policy-making The main empirical focus will be a case comparison of recent policy making processes in Spain (framed in the European Union context) and United States. From an empirical point of view, a main innovation will be the development of mixed method strategies, combining structured content analysis of documents and interviews, and online semi-structured questionnaires administered to the main local, regional and national movement organizations. Three lines of impact are expected: impact in terms of contributing to better governance and policy making in new social practices; impact adding value to the state of the art in social sciences; and the potential of acquiring competencies. The hosting center, the Institute of Govern and Public Policies (Autonomous University of Catalonia (IGOP-UAB)) has a track of 20 years researching on public policies and the principal investigator, Dr. Mayo Fuster Morell, coordinator of the research group on Internet and public policies at IGOP-UAB, developed her doctoral dissertation on the free culture phenomenon from a micro (organizational) level and her postdoc on the free culture movement for the Catalonia case. The project has two components, one with base in Barcelona and hosted by the Institute of Govern and Public Policies (Autonomous University of Catalonia) and the other one with base in Cambridge (Boston, USA) with the support of the Berkman center of Internet and Society – Harvard University. From Boston team, Prof. Dr. Yochai Benkler (Harvard School of Law professor and co-director of the Berkman center for internet and Society - Harvard University) is a worldwide leading scholar in the area with a track record of almost 15 years research on intellectual property, social cooperation and Internet; and Prof. Dr. Shasa Constanza (Comparative Media Studies - Massachusetts Institute of Technology and fellow of Berkman center for Internet and Society – Harvard University) is an expert in social movements and technology. From Barcelona team, Dr. Marc Grau – also member of Institute of Govern and Public Policies (Autonomous University of Catalonia) - did his thesis on technology and democratic innovation and is an expert in the area. Prof. Dr. Eduard Aibar at Open University of Catalonia is an expert on communication and social innovation. Furthermore, Prof. Dr Joan Subirats, Marco Berlinguer and Ruben Martinez – part on the research team on Internet and public policies at the Institute of Govern and Public Policies (Autonomous University of Catalonia) will act as collaborators with the project. Finally, Asociacion Amical Viquipedia (Catalonia) and Peer to Peer Foundation (International) (as EPOs) will also enrich the research development, particularly in regards to results difussion and aplicability. Altogether, assuring a rich complementarity in the research group and the required expertise to develop the project.
From an empirical point of view, a main innovation will be the development of mixed method strategies, combining structured content analysis of documents and interviews, and online semi-structured questionnaires administered to the main local, regional and national movement organizations.
- Project website
- Academic publications
- Presentation of academic and free culture movement events
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Spanish Government. Call 2012 of the National Basic Research Projects of the VI National R + D + i (BOE 31/12/2011). (Programa Nacional de Proyectos de Investigación Fundamental del VI Plan Nacional de I+D+i (BOE 31/12/2011)).
- Presentation of the project at Amical Viquipedia wiki:
- IGOP - UAB website: http://igop.uab.cat