Arwid Lund is a Lecturer at the Department of Arts and Cultural Sciences, Lund University, Sweden. Arwid is completing the second part of his WIAS fellowship from 3 April 2017 to 2 June 2017. During his fellowship, he will be working on how 'openness' is understood ideologically by advocates within the Open Knowledge Network. His aim is to identify the ideological landscape within this movement.
What is your research project about?
The different perspectives on openness within the broad movement for open knowledge (content, data, science) often fit well into a neo-liberal project where the state opens up, sells or gives away its historically accumulated resources under rally cries against bureaucracy and for transparency and accountability.
But there are also differences and conflicts in capitalism in relation to data and content. One capital faction to some degree prospers from open data and content, another thrives on closed content and data. But even between the 'openers' there are differences: on the one hand, we have new businesses that harvest, enclose and sell data from users of presumably open platforms or search engines, on the other hand we have enterprises lobbying for E-government and an 'opening up' of public data for new commercial services that re-encloses the data in private forms. The 'openness' is complementary to capitalism in different ways.
In my research, I am interested in how 'openness' is understood ideologically by advocates within the Open Knowledge Network (which has made an influential definition of open knowledge). I want to know how this network positions itself in the political economy. The aim is to perform a detailed analysis of the ideological landscape within the network: How does it position itself within the neo-liberal paradigm? Are there signs of non-liberal ideological positions with a more positive concept of openness and freedom (stressing the relevance of social conditions and power relations)? Or in short: For whom and for what are the 'free' and 'open'?
What are you looking forward to during your stay at WIAS?
My goal is to conduct all the necessary interviews, transcribe and analyse them, and finalise a first draft of a report or article based on the research. I hope to meet up with other researchers connected to WIAS and have interesting discussions that will help me develop as a researcher. I am also really looking forward to the public meetings and seminars that I know that WIAS will be organising during my stay.