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DIY revisited

I was lucky enough to land a co-author gig on a chapter that is part of this cool MacArthur digital media and learning initiative, and did a little work on the latest draft of the chapter this week. Among other things. Here’s the chapter blurb:

This chapter focuses on contestation over cultural products associated with youth culture, using research on social movements, culture, and technology. We argue that conflict over who controls cultural products is an important form of civic engagement and we explore these conflicts using data on electronic petitions related to youth culture.

One of the things that Jenn and I consider — and that turns out to be a theme of the volume, tackled in a number of interesting ways — is a new kind of relationship between consumers and producers that emerges when there is the capability to do more stuff (“more stuff” broadly defined, of course) with cultural goods. Entirely coincidentally, I also came across this old blog entry of mine on DIY culture, this week. It turns out I’ve been thinking of this stuff for years, now, though the earlier entry was from a different perspective: Whereas this chapter considers the remaking of existing cultural stuff, I had previously wondered about what we might make of commercial platforms for DIY products, like flickr, blog software, and the like? I thought at the time about the effects of consumers producing large amounts of DIY stuff that essentially became the property of the platform on which they built it.

Somewhere in there is some material that would be cool to explore further. But right now, all I can think of is a bad Yakov joke, and I assume that somebody already beat me to it: “In Web 2.0, content owns you!”