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Occasional Talk with Christopher Kelty

From software hackers to pajama factories: historical ethnographies of participation/political theories of technology

This talk will present several cases of ethnographic investigation and political theorizing related to the problem of participation, specifically participation mediated or enabled by new social and mobile media, the Internet and software creation. It looks at the cases of hacking and free software—where large-scale collaborative production of software (and increasingly the production of security as well) has taken place outside of established organizational settings; and it also consider cases prior to the emergence of the Internet where participation was explored and implemented, such as “participative management” in the workplace, civic engagement in public administration, and participatory development internationally. The talk explores the question of the experience of participation and its relationship to the functions and practical implementations of participatory technologies.

Date: Thursday, March 2, 2017
Time: 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm
Venue: Coor 4401, Tempe Campus, ASU

RSVP by Wednesday, 3/1 here.

 Christopher M. Kelty is professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. He has appointments in the Institute for Society and Genetics, the department of Information Studies and the Department of Anthropology. Research interests center on social theory and technology, the cultural significance of information technology; the relationship of participation, technology and the public sphere; He is the author of the book “Two Bits: The Cultural Significance of Free Software” (Duke University Press, 2008), as well as numerous articles on open source and free software, including its impact on education, nanotechnology, the life sciences; participation as a political concept, open access in the academy, piracy, the history of software, and many other inadvisably diverse topics available on the Publications page.

Current projects include:
• An NSF-funded research project on Participation. We compare cases of mediated participation in multiple domains (from free
software to citizen journalism to science and engineering to culture and art).
• Ongoing research on aspects of “openness” in science, ranging from issues of open access to scholarly publications to piracy to
openness and closure in scientific research both today, and in the past.
• A variety of projects at the intersection of life science and technology, including historical investigations of software in life science
(L-Systems, regular expressions), the use of evolutionary models to study technology, and other ways of making theories come alive
in the study of life.
• a scholarly magazine called Limn