Cloth $75.00 ISBN: 9780226192277 Will Publish December 2014
Paper $25.00 ISBN: 9780226192307 Will Publish December 2014
E-book $25.00 Available for pre-order. ISBN: 9780226192444 Will Publish December 2014

Wikipedia and the Politics of Openness

Nathaniel Tkacz

Nathaniel Tkacz

232 pages | 5 halftones, 4 line drawings | 6 x 9 | © 2014
Cloth $75.00 ISBN: 9780226192277 Will Publish December 2014
Paper $25.00 ISBN: 9780226192307 Will Publish December 2014
E-book $25.00 ISBN: 9780226192444 Will Publish December 2014
Few virtues are as celebrated in contemporary culture as openness. Rooted in software culture and carrying more than a whiff of Silicon Valley technical utopianism, openness—of decision-making, data, and organizational structure—is seen as the cure for many problems in politics and business.
 
But what does openness mean, and what would a political theory of openness look like? With Wikipedia and the Politics of Openness, Nathaniel Tkacz uses Wikipedia, the most prominent product of open organization, to analyze the theory and politics of openness in practice—and to break its spell. Through discussions of edit wars, article deletion policies, user access levels, and more, Tkacz enables us to see how the key concepts of openness—including collaboration, ad-hocracy, and the splitting of contested projects through “forking”—play out in reality.
 
The resulting book is the richest critical analysis of openness to date, one that roots media theory in messy reality and thereby helps us move beyond the vaporware promises of digital utopians and take the first steps toward truly understanding what openness does, and does not, have to offer.
Alan Liu, University of California, Santa Barbara
“This book will make people sit up and think in a new way about a timely set of issues. Tkacz’s argument is not predictable or one-dimensional. Instead, it is productive of new knowledge at each step. Each new layer of argument uncovers riches of detail, new bibliographies of current research, and surprising new directions of thought. His argument balances nicely between powerful general statements and compelling concrete demonstrations.”
Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, Brown University
“A crucial intervention in the field of new media studies. The book thinks rigorously about participation and collaboration as few others do. It is certain to generate much excitement, debate, and even controversy.”
Ned Rossiter, University of Western Sydney
“Highly original and delightfully written, Wikipedia and the Politics of Openness is one of the finest pieces of work I have read in the field of network cultures and software studies. Tkacz has undertaken a comprehensive critique of openness—or open politics—as it manifests across a range of institutional and social-technical settings. This book has all the key ingredients to make a substantial impact in debates surrounding network governance and software politics.”
Contents
Acknowledgments

Introduction

1 Open Politics

2 Sorting Collaboration Out

3 The Governance of Forceful Statements: From Ad-Hocracy to Ex Corpore

4 Organizational Exit and the Regime of Computation

5 Controversy in Action

Conclusion: The Neoliberal Tinge

Appendix A: Archival Statements from the Depictions of Muhammad Debate

Appendix B: Selections from the Mediation Archives

References

Index
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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