SESSION 1 Wiki Theory: 10.15 – 12.30. Friday, March 26
In this paper I examine various forms of communicative user interactions producing the Wikipedia. It makes power its central focus and uses Foucault‘s discourse theory. This study examines the main assumptions implicit in the predominant conceptions of power in the Wikipedia discourse and maps the terrain and signposts the boundaries within which Foucauldian-inspired research on the complex and diffuse phenomenon of the power-knowledge relationship might be conducted. The paper is organised to address the following questions: How is power generally conceived in Wikipedia’s discursive structure and how does a Foucauldian approach to power compare and contrast with these perspectives? In a changing and developing field of computerised data mining techniques, techniques of knowledge and programs for collecting and archiving digital information have captured a noticeably larger space (e.g. the retrieval modes sorting, counting, ranking, and marking). The exponential proliferation of new networking structures on the Internet allows collective relationships, which were not previously possible. Alongside this we witness a specific media culture of self-practices, which often take the form of self-leadership, from accounting and meticulous benchmarking (e.g. ranking), of experimental self-relation and self-presentation as aesthetic practices (e.g. profiling). We find cultures of communication based on mutual and permanent evaluation, which comprise the entire social and cultural space and often adopt forms of discursive knowledge practices. Therefore the paper argues that Wikipedia can be understood as a discursive formation that regulates and structures the production of knowledge and social participation. Many areas of the Wikipedia are accompanied by a variety of evaluation practices, which are not just another management tool – they are also new forms of self-technologies and external commutation that have emerged. This entails a shift from legitimacy based on power and prestige within an institution to legitimacy based on knowledge, evidence-making and technologies of the self. Adopting Foucault's point of view, the goals of power and the goals of knowledge cannot be separated: in knowing we control and in controlling we know.