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22 SEPTEMBER 2016

Elinor Ostrom and the solution to the tragedy of the commons

Elinor Ostrom's "research concerned the governance of common resources (also known as commons). The commons are natural resources, like land for grazing, fishing areas, forests for timber, water for the irrigation of farmland, and also more intangible resources, like knowledge, for which it is very expensive to control and fence in 'user' consumption. The problem with these types of resources, as shown in 1968 by Garrett Hardin (but Aristotle had already observed a similar phenomenon) is that they are over-exploited, or at least their care and sustainability is overlooked by users. The reason is that people behave opportunistically (like free-riders) and consider the resource they are accessing, without the possibility of being excluded, as a free resource, and they therefore maximize their private benefits but neglect, or collectivize, the costs.

Hardin coined the phrase 'tragedy of the commons' to describe this phenomenon and gave social sciences one of the most evocative metaphors after Adam Smith’s 'invisible hand'. These two metaphors are effective because they capture two essential social situations in marked contrast to one another. When social interactions are guided by an invisible hand, they reconcile individual choice and socially desirable results, whereas in the tragedy of the commons, individuals pursuing their private objectives cause disastrous consequences for themselves and others. The solution to the tragedy of the commons, before the contribution of Ostrom and her studies, was to privatize resources or, in a diametrically opposite view, to form a Leviathan state in order to manage them.

Instead, Ostrom demonstrated that, within communities, rules and institutions of non-market and not resulting from public planning can emerge from the bottom up to ensure a sustainable, shared management of resources, as well as one that is efficient from an economical point of view. Besides the village of Törbel, Ostrom shows examples of common lands in the Japanese villages of Hirano and Nagaike, the huerta irrigation mechanism between Valencia, Murcia and Alicante in Spain, and the zanjera irrigation community in the Philippines. Also, the property in the form of 'vicinale', neighborhoods, typical of regions of Italy like Emilia, the Belluno and the Ticino, are also collective institutions, although not investigated by Ostrom. The argument then has a more modern example if one notices that even the 'Wikipedia community' is a form of successful collective institution of a communal resource (knowledge)."

(Flavio Felice, Massimiliano Vatiero, 27 June 2012)

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TAGS

Adam Smith • American political economist • assets • Belluno • bottom-up organisation • collective institutions • collective interests • common pool resources (CPR) • common propertycommons • communal resource • economic governance • economic science • Elinor Ostrom • Emilia • English Industrial Revolution • exploitationfencing • Flavio Felice • Garrett Hardin • governance of common resources • Hirano • huerta irrigation mechanism • individual choice • invisible hand • Karl Polanyi • land management • Massimiliano Vatiero • Nagaike • natural resourcesopportunism • over-exploitation • political economics • political economist • political economyprivate control • privatisation • privatisation of land • public government • public planning • resource managementsocial interactionssocial situation • socially desirable results • sustainabilitysustainability thinking • Ticino • Torbel • tragedy of the commons • vicinale • Wikipedia • Wikipedia community • zanjera irrigation community

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
25 OCTOBER 2015

Digital Economies

Environment and Planning A 2012, volume 44, pages 1009 – 1010

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2015big datacultural anthropology • cultural labour • digital anthropologydigital dividedigital economics • digital labour • digital sweatshops • digital work • digital work practices • economic geography • economic inequality • gamed labour • geographic information science • Global Conference on Economic Geography • global Internet geography • global south • globalised production • human geography • immaterial labour • information geographies • Internet and information geographies • Mark Graham • means of production • microwork • outsourcingOxford Internet Institutepatterns of userestaurant findersocial inequality • sociocultural anthropology • space of flows • virtual labour • Wikipedia

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
20 JUNE 2015

OpenLabel: how data could define the future of advocacy

"OpenLabel, a platform that works as something of a halfway point between Wikipedia and Yelp, offers up crowdsourced information about a product from a wide number of sources, including other users. But rather than just keeping that information stored online, it makes it easily accessible in app form through a barcode reader.

And beyond that—here's the point where your ears should perk up—it also pulls in publicly accessible data from nonprofits, so if you're not sure whether a box of cereal uses genetically modified corn, for example, it'll let you know. ...

In a way, it creates an opportunity for consumers to keep their personal preferences in mind when looking for stuff at a store. If, for example, you find the use of animal testing questionable, you can follow the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics' Leaping Bunny Program. If you're concerned about product recalls, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has a place on the platform. If fair labor practices matter to you, Oxfam's Behind the Brands campaign is there. And so on.

Much like personalized news apps have allowed users to tailor content to their own needs, OpenLabel basically lets users create their own boycotts. That's power."

(Ernie Smith, 17 February 2015, Associations Now)

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add your comments • Angies List • annotation service • Associations Now (magazine) • augmented reality • barcode reader • barcode scanner app • barcode scanning applications • Behind the Brands (Oxfam) • Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics • consumer advocacy • consumer information • Consumer Product Safety Commission • crowdsourced information • data humanisation • Environmental Working Group • ethical purchasing • fair labour practices • Fast Company • Flipboard • food label • food products • GrubHub • Jawbone Up • little data • Mint (app) • MyFitnessPal • nonprofit data • OpenLabel • OpenLabel Project • personalised suggestionspocket data • product recall • product reviews • publicly accessible data • publicly accessible databases • RedLaser • Scott Kennedy • sharing information • ShopSavvy • small data • stealth mode • Sunlight Foundationsupermarket shelvestaggingtrust and reputation • Waze • Wikipedia • Yelp • ZocDoc

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
14 JULY 2012

Student experiences of disability social networks, in and around higher education

"For many young people social networks such as Facebook are an essential part of their student experience. Other web–based, interactive services like Wikipedia and YouTube are also an important facet of everyday student life. New technologies have always been scrutinized for their capacity to support education and, as social technologies become more pervasive, universities are under increasing pressure to appropriate them for teaching and learning. However, the educational impact of applying these Web 2.0 technologies is uncertain.

Using a Foucauldian perspective, my qualitative study explores the networked experiences of disabled students to examine how dis/ability difference is ascribed and negotiated within social networks. Data comprises 34 internet–enabled interviews with 18 participants from three English universities. Interviews incorporate the internet to expand opportunities for discussion, observation and analysis. Mobile broadband, a remote desktop viewer and screen capture have been flexibly applied together to ensure an accessible interview situation and recognise students' preferences and circumstances. Data is analysed using discourse analysis, with an attention to context framed by activity theory.

Disabled students' networked experiences are found to be complex and diverse. For a proportion, the network shifts the boundaries of disability, creating non–disabled subjectivities. For these students, the network represents the opportunity to mobilise new ways of being, building social capital and mitigating impairment.

Other participants experience the network as punitive and disabling. Disability is socio–technically ascribed by the social networking site and the networked public. Each inducts norms that constitute disability as a visible, deviant and deficit identity. In the highly normative conditions of the network, where every action is open to scrutiny, impairment is subjected to an unequal gaze that produces disabled subjectivities. For some students with unseen impairments, a social experience of disability is inducted for the first time.

As a result, students deploy diverse strategies to retain control and resist deviant status. Self–surveillance, self–discipline and self–advocacy are evoked, each involving numerous social, cognitive and technological tactics for self–determination, including disconnection. I conclude that networks function both as Technologies of the Self and as Technologies of Power. For some disabled students, the network supports 'normal' status. For others, it must be resisted as a form of social domination.

Importantly, in each instance, the network propels students towards disciplinary techniques that mask diversity, rendering disability and the possibility of disability invisible. Consequently, disability is both produced and suppressed by the network."

(Sarah Lewthwaite, Slewth Press)

TAGS

2011 • accessible interviews • Activity Theoryboundaries • building social capital • capacity to support education • cognitive tacticscontrol • deficit identity • deviance • deviant • deviant statusdifference • dis/ability • dis/ability difference • disabilitydisability and social networks • disability as a visible • disability studies • disability studies researcher • disabled students • disabled subjectivities • disabling • disconnection • discourse analysisdiversity • education researcher • educational impact • everyday student lifeFacebook • Foucauldian perspective • higher educationidentityidentity constructionidentity performance • impairment • interactive services • internet-enabled interviews • invisiblelearning and teaching • LSRI • mediated environmentsMichel Foucaultmitigating impairment • mobile broadband • networked experiences • networked publicsnew technologiesnew ways of being • non-disabled subjectivities • normal status • normative conditions • open to scrutiny • PhDPhD thesis • produced by the network • punitive • qualitative study • remote desktop • Sarah Lewthwaite • screen capture • self-advocacy • self-discipline • self-surveillance • social experience of disability • social interactionsocial media researchersocial networking servicesocial networking sitessocial networkssocial norms • social tactics • social technologies • socio-technically ascribed • student circumstancesstudent experience • student experiences of disability • student preference • students • suppressed by the network • tactictactics • technological tactics • technologies of powerthesis • unequal gaze • University of Nottingham • unseen impairments • Web 2.0 technologies • web-basedWikipediayoung peopleYouTube

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
30 MAY 2011

Video for Wikipedia: Guide to Best Practices

"This new effort takes advantage of a movement toward open video – a movement that has its roots in the free software movement that is largely powering the web today and which, through companies such as Apache, IBM, Mozilla, Oracle and Red Hat, has resulted in trillions of dollars of value creation for the stakeholders involved. The open or open–source video movement recognizes the contributions from, but also the limitations inherent in, the video work of industry leaders such as Adobe, Apple, and Microsoft. Flash, Quicktime, Windows Media and Silverlight are handsome technologies. But they have been developed and controlled by commercial companies that often protect themselves against innovations by outside coders, designers, developers, programmers – technologists, lawyers, producers, and educators keen to move away from proprietary solutions that are delivered for the benefit of shareholders first and the billions of everyday people who connect via the web a pale second.

The open video movement recognizes the importance of rights and licensing strategies designed to create profit or serve national interests, but it is critical of systems that prohibit access to film and sound assets becoming part of our collective audiovisual canon. Many film and sound resources digitized for preservation, for example, do not appear online because of dated copyright rules; and some of the great investments (millions of dollars in fact) by, for example, the U.K. government in film and sound resource digitization result in materials being put online only behind educational and national paywalls that keep students in Nairobi and Nashville from using London–based resources in their work.

Enabling video to catch up to the open–source movement on the web goes to the heart of our efforts to improve our understanding of the world. The central technologies of the web – HTML, HTTP, and TCP/IP – are open for all to build upon and improve, and video's future should be similarly unobstructed."

(Peter B. Kaufman, 2010)

Fig.1 Kid Kameleon, CC BY SA NC

2). Video for Wikipedia and the Open Web October 2010 An Intelligent Television White Paper PETER B. KAUFMAN INTELLIGENT TELEVISION WWW.INTELLIGENTTELEVISION.COM THE OPEN VIDEO ALLIANCE Version 1.0

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2010AdobeAdobe FlashApache Software Foundation (ASF)AppleaudiovisualBBC archiveBritish Film InstituteBritish Governmentcontent rightscopyrightcopyright rulesdigitisation • educational paywalls • film resources • free software movement • HTML • HTTP • IBMinnovationLibrary of Congress • licensing strategies • media resources • MicrosoftMITMozillaNairobi • Nashville • national paywalls • open sourceopen video • open-source movement • open-source video movement • Oracle Corporation • ownership • paywall • preservation • proprietary solutions • proprietary technologiesQuickTime • Red Hat (Linux) • remix cultureSilverlightsound resources • U.S. National Archives • value creationWikipedia • Windows Media • Yale University

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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