"Profound and meticulously researched work, which has expanded my worldview." -- Howard Rheingold, lecturer at U.C. Berkeley's School of Information and visiting lecturer in Stanford University's Department of Communication and|"Invited or not, the brilliant and not-so-brilliant members of our digital culture are actively participating. We're not just using but changing, repurposing, and re-inventing the technologies set before us. Bastard or not, the reality we are creating together is an odd and often unconscious collaboration between people, corporations, and technology itself. Schaefer has patiently, deliberately, and quite engagingly exposed this hidden landscape of cultural production, and shown us what we might do to direct it toward positive, even evolutionary ends." -- Douglas Rushkoff--lecturer in the department of Media Studies, The New School University, author, Program or Be Programmed: Ten Commands for a Digital Age|"Insgesamt ergibt sich daraus ein sehr lesenswertes Buch, das bereits etablierte und besprochene Themen und Probleme vor einem aktuellen Hintergrund neu diskutiert und dabei dem Bezug zur Realwelt stets den Vorrang vor theoretischen Haarspalterei lässt, was im Hinblick auf die erfrischende interventionistisch/programmatische Stoßrichtung nur konsequent und letztlich erfreulich ist."--Zeitschrtift für Medienwissenschaft|"The author weaves together history of computing, business strategies, common media practices and hacking practices in a well conceived account that insists in the controversial and ambiguous nature of participation. He offers an original contribution unfolding the dark side of implicit participation and taking symmetrically into account both explicit and implicit participation as blurred and intertwined components of participatory culture." -- Claudio Coletta, Tecnoscienza
New online technologies have brought with them a great promise of freedom. The computer and particularly the Internet have been represented as enabling technologies, turning consumers into users and users into producers. Furthermore, lay people and amateurs have been enthusiastically greeted as heroes of the digital era. This thoughtful study casts a fresh light on the shaping of user participation in the context of, among others, popular discourse in and around new media.
Schäfer’s groundbreaking research into hacking, fan communities and Web 2.0 applications demonstrates how the dynamic of innovation, control and interaction have shifted the boundaries of the traditional culture industry into the user domain. The media industry undergoes a shift from creating content to providing platforms for user driven social interactions and user-generated content. In this extended culture industry, participation unfolds not only in the co-creation of media content and software-based products, but also in the development and defense of distinctive media practices that represent a socio-political understanding of new technologies.
Mirko Tobias Schäfer is Assistant Professor for New Media & Digital Culture at the University of Utrecht and principal investigator of the Utrecht Data School. He is a postdoctoral fellow at the Centre for Humanities at the University of Utrecht. His book Bastard Culture! How User participation Transforms Cultural Production (2011) has been favorably reviewed by peer-reviewed journals.