Accepted Paper:

From the virtual communities of digital commons to the phygital practices of makerspaces: an intersectional feminist study  


Natalia- Rozalia Avlona (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki)

Paper short abstract:

This paper will come into grips with the issues of inclusion and exclusion on the base of gender, class and race in the communities of digital common ,through their transition from the virtual to the phygital realm.

Paper long abstract:

During the last three decades, digital commons have sketched virtual terrains of free, participatory and distributed production of immaterial goods. The invention of World Wide Web, the FOSS movement and the Commons Based Peer Production (CBPP) have formed new landscapes of virtual communities which were characterised by the "hacker ethos" and introduced disruptive values to the global capitalist system. However, these "commoning practices" incorporated a very interesting contradiction. Whilst they pioneered an transformation into the self-organisation culture by introducing values such as horizontality, sharing, learning by doing, and disapproval to any authority, at the same time these communities were characterised by extreme gender imbalance.

The last years, the emergence of makerspaces as open, community-led spaces, where open source software and hardware are utilised collaboratively by individuals, (Kostakis, Niaros & Drechsler 2017) is re-setting the above mentioned contradictions into an altered framework: hybrid communities are redirecting the production of common goods into the "phygital" realm.

In this paper, I will argue that the contemporary "phygital' practices of commons offer a novel ground of both political potentialities and controversies, which can enact the diversity and plurality of their communities. This argument will particularly address the issues of inclusion and exclusion in these hybrid communities by the prism of intersectional feminist theory.

Panel C23
STS meet ICT: politics and the collaborative turn in STS