Handshakes amongst strangers: P2P and the production of disorder within informational capitalism


This is an attached slide-show (with notes)* from my presentation at The Second IT & Disorder Workshop held at the University of Technology, Sydney, on 26 March 2009. I need to work this up into a paper for publication in a uni e-journal very very soon! But I seem to be more devoted to d/l'ing endless stuff 'for research' from my favourite sites.... Anyway this presentation went well, and I felt i had redeemed myself after 2 really embarrassing presentations late last year.

The messy Hydra: developments in transglobal Peer-to-Peer culture

Once a minor practice in places of privilege in the global North, internet-enabled file-sharing via peer-to-peer (P2P) systems has evolved into a vast, transglobal activity. Engaging millions of participants, P2P is decentralised, deeply networked, grass roots-driven, polycultural phenomenon growing exponentially. It appears uncontainable, as each wave of technological, legal and commercial measures designed to halt or divert it fail. Moreover, pressure exerted 'from above' by governments and multinational industry alliances becomes a productive force within geographically dispersed, globalised P2P networks and communities. Technical and social innovations are generated 'from below' in order to protect and expand “cultures of sharing,” or “piracy.” Paradoxically, these innovations become mainstreamed as they force corporations to adopt new business models in response to 'market' desires.

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