appropriating cyberpunk

Cargo Cult

In his article “The economies of online cooperation: Gifts and public goods in cyberspace” (Kollock 1999) Peter Kollock says about digital goods:

Online communities exist within a radically different environment. The setting is a (1) network of (2) digital (3) information, and each of these three features drives important changes. It is a world of information rather than physical objects. Further, it is digital information, meaning that it is possible to produce an infinite number of perfect copies of a piece of information, whether that be a computer program, a multimedia presentation, or the archives of a long e-mail discussion. As Negroponte (1995) put it, the setting is one of bits rather than atoms. […]

The value of a public good can also shift as one moves to online interaction. The fact that many of the public goods produced on the Internet consist of digital information means that the goods exhibit pure indivisibility—one person’s use of the information in no way diminishes what is available for someone else.

Well, the same is true for knowledge in general, consequently for anthropological knowledge in particular, too. Since 1999, when I met Kurt Beck [meanwhile ↑Chair of Anthropology at the University of Bayreuth] for the first time, I appropriated the concept of cultural appropriation from him. It quickly became my pet paradigm and the whole maxmod-project is built upon and around it. But as knowledge is indivisible, Kurt has the concept still, too
[see his current project ↑“Bedford’s appropriation—The social organisation of craftsmen’s innovation in Sudan”]. Knowledge and ideas are gifts not to be given, but to be shared.

The mentioned project is what should occupy me during the majority of my working time. But, as the faithful reader may have noticed till now, I am prone to reading and watching cyberpunk. So I appropriated cyberpunk for my project and more or less privately started to fuse the concept of cultural appropriation, [cyber]anthropology, cyberculture, and cyberpunk. This fusion I will celebrate next term.

In here I already mentioned that I will teach two courses during the upcoming winterterm (teaching appropriation and teaching cyberpunk), now the websites for both courses are online: Appropriation and Cyberpunk. Until now the sites only carry the courses’ abstracts (in English and German), the dates of the sessions, and general information. The final schedules of topics do not exist yet, I will work them out in the next days and weeks. During that time the sites will be used as a collection of material on the respective topics—I already started to compile my bibliography of choice on appropriation [scroll down to the bottom of the course’s website]—apart from that: have a nice holiday ;-)

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