[iDC] Late Introduction

Alf Rehn alfrehn at me.com
Tue Jun 23 06:40:34 UTC 2009

Hello to everyone,

I'm a longtime lurker on this list and now finally prompted to  
introduce myself by the last flurry of communiques.

My name is Alf Rehn (www.alfrehn.com/academic/), and I guess I  
represent an odd minority on this list as I'm a full-fledged member of  
that most despicable of academic tribes, the business school  
professors. For my sins (which are many and varied), I got a Chair in  
Management and Organization at a Finnish place called Åbo Akademi  
University at the tender age of 31, and have still not recovered  
entirely from the shock. Oh, and before you ask, no, we do not have a  
Chair in Polar Studies, and no, it's not at all like Mongolia. Alas,  
we do not all use Nokias either - I rock an iPhone as every other sane  
person. Moving on, I've also while on leave of absence done a turn as  
a Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Royal Institute  
of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden (and yes, they are all blonde and  
look vaguely like ABBA), as well as sullied myself thoroughly by  
working as a speaker and a consultant, working from that fine line of  
theological thinking which decrees that immersion in sins is an  
efficient way to a fuller understanding of the human condition.

My research has mainly focused on things that freaks out my  
colleagues. A more standardized version of this claim would be to say  
that I research moralization and ideology in the constitution of  
economic thinking, something that has led me to a varied number of  
research subjects. My doctoral dissertation was on internet piracy  
(warez) as a gift economy, something that was seen as a rather odd  
line of argument at the time (2001) but which seems to have gone quite  
mainstream. After this, I did some work on innovation and  
entrepreneurship in unusual areas (the Soviet Union, haute cuisine,  
children's culture and popular culture), as well as some pretty odd  
conceptual stuff (am in all likelihood the only professor of  
management who has published (separate) work on both cannibals,  
zombies, superheroes and Ethel Merman). Oh, and wrote some bits on  
power and why management theory is an meta-ideological system as well.

Currently working on a book that draws on fan-work and mixing  
cultures, as well as ongoing work in creativity (mainly critiques of  
the milquetoast approaches towards it that seem to be so popular).  
Overall, my project seems to be to smuggle in somewhat more radical  
notions of collaborative work, ideological critique and issues of  
control in late modernism into corporate life. And having fun doing so.

Sedit qui timuit ne non succederet,
alf rehn

On 23 jun 2009, at 03:55, Abigail De Kosnik wrote:

> Hi All:
> Sorry to be late to the Introductions party!  I am an Assistant
> Professor at the University of California, Berkeley in the Berkeley
> Center for New Media (bcnm.berkeley.edu) and the Department of
> Theater, Dance & Performance Studies (tdps.berkeley.edu).  I am
> currently working on two books: The Survival of Soap Opera: Strategies
> for a New Media Age (co-edited with Sam Ford and C. Lee Harrington),
> forthcoming from the University Press of Mississippi, and Illegitimate
> Media: Minority Discourse and Censorship in Digital Remix Culture,
> forthcoming from the University of Georgia Press.
> I specialize in issues of Internet fan cultures and fan
> appropriations, such as fan fiction and game mods.  I'm interested in
> the question of how appropriations by women and minorities are
> critically appraised, widely understood, restricted and rewarded.  One
> of my main arguments about women who write fan fiction (see my short
> piece, "Should Fan Fiction Be Free?," in the upcoming issue of Cinema
> Journal) is that they (the majority, at any rate) refuse to consider
> monetizing their work because of a strong commitment to the ideals of
> gift economies and craft cultures - but in doing so, these women are
> opting to *not* benefit from a creative format that is increasing in
> popularity and helping the media industries generate millions in
> revenue.
> Many fan producers give away their work for free on the Internet
> because their works - fan vids, fan trailers, etc. - make use of
> copyrighted images and sounds, and to attempt to financially profit
> from these types of appropriations would likely make them targets of
> lawsuits by the copyright holders of the source material.  However,
> there is something else at work in the insistence of cultural workers
> to labor without pay; as Mark Andrejevic and Tiziana Terranova have
> pointed out, it has become a cultural norm that all of the user-
> generated content that makes the Internet interesting should be
> unpaid. I want to interrogate this assumption, which has become more
> and more naturalized in recent years, and ask about how Internet
> revenue models can somehow compensate user or fan contributors as well
> as official content creators.
> Looking forward to the ongoing discussions!
> Abigail De Kosnik
> UC Berkeley
> Assistant Professor
> Berkeley Center for New Media
> Theater, Dance & Performance Studies
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Professor Alf Rehn

Chair of Management and Organization (Åbo Akademi University, Finland)
and Free Agent of Alfrigg Inc.

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