[iDC] the politics of journalism

Bernard Roddy bproddy at yahoo.com
Fri May 4 10:07:48 EDT 2007

Hey, Michel:  Thanks for the reply.  What you say strikes me as addressed to the initiated, and purposely not to me.  But perhaps I could try out some translations.  Can we define what you call "communal validation" as what people are prepared to actively support, and say that such support generally comes in the form of payment in some form?  You know, like the extent of validation is measured in terms of the extent to which profitable enterprises can flourish in the community.  Are there other forms of validation?  I was also struck by the reference to social reproduction in your reply.  You give three processes that make such reproduction possible, but what exactly is the value of reproduction here?  What is being reproduced?  I am accustomed to questioning such reproduction, to seeing most of what is reproduced as problematic.  As a result, at this point I am beginning to feel like the economic and social arrangements of a capitalist system are taken for granted, and
 that the objective for devising such processes as you list has more to do with succeeding under the terms of such a system, accepting the discursive formations of "free enterprise."  We are a long way from any consideration about resistance, it seems.  When you mention the "selection for quality," I want to ask how is this different from determining what is profitable?  You know, rather than one person one vote, we have one dollar one vote.  I would say that the notion of "quality" gets introduced when hegemonic priorities try to naturalize their objectives.  Thus, as I understand you, quality is not supposed to be the product of a social process that has historical roots in various expressions of power.  Instead it is supposed to be an inherent characteristic of the content itself, as if it were born in the product and not a reified result of social desire, ideology, or economic inequality.  For me the very idea of quality is politically suspect.  This concern applies
 equally to the concept of "talent," which can often be measured in terms of profitability but is then mystified into some intrinsic criteria only true "experts" can pick up.  (In your reply you make reference to "anti-hijacking" processes and refine this as "procedures against private appropriation."  This sounds like a reference to issues surrounding intellectual property, to measures designed to prevent private interests from using public resources for private gain or from placing constraints on the capacity people have to access or use ideas that ought to be available to anyone.  But the language would also suit a CEO who is concerned about protecting company content from being "hijacked" by other private individuals, artists and such.  In the context of a discussion about such things as quality and talent, hijacking - so familiar from the language of terrorism - would seem to allude to fears held by the status quo.)
  Date: Wed, 2 May 2007 10:07:17 +0700
From: "Michel Bauwens" 
Subject: Re: [iDC] the politics of journalism
To: idc at mailman.thing.net

Hi Bernard,

Not sure what is business school about communal validation, wish they were
indeed talking about such things there.

But more seriously: any mode of production/governance/distribution has to
take care of 3 processes if it is to socially reproduce itself: 1) the
cumulation process (which is now distributed in p2p); 2) winnowing, i.e.
the selection for quality process (which happens through communal
validation, i.e. is distributed as much as the production is); 3)
anti-hijacking processes (procedures against private appropriation, the
tragedy of the commons, etc...)

On 5/1/07, Bernard Roddy wrote:
> For what it's worth, this post from Joshua Levy is encouraging. I follow
> efforts by death row inmates on Texas Death row, and the MySpace and penpal
> journalism phenomenon holds a powerful potential for some serious reflection
> on an issue that corporate media has a strangle-hold over. Of course we'll
> take the "professional" journalist, but only when they know what they're
> talking about. (To say there's no call to replace traditional media is,
> perhaps, minimizing a problem, of course.) By contrast, I was disappointed
> by the discussion raised by Michel Bauwens and Robert Labossiere. Bauwens
> says something about "the key" to successful projects, making reference to
> "community validation" and "quality," and answering Labossiere's call for
> ideas on "talent" and "agents." This just sounds like business school to
> me.
> Bernie

Don't get soaked.  Take a quick peak at the forecast 
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