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DH Seminar: Open Data in the Age of Big Data Capitalism

Arwid Lund, Senior Lecturer from the Department of Cultural Sciences at the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Linnaeus University will give a talk within the emerging field of Digital Humanities (DH) that is a part of the DH Seminars series hosted by the University's DH Initiative aimed at providing a forum for relevant DH discussions in the region and beyond.

Seminar will be streamed through the following link,

The Seminars are open to everyone, but please sign up at:

About lecturer:
Arwid Lund holds a PhD in Information Studies and is a Senior Lecturer at the department of Cultural sciences, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Linnaeus University. His dissertation from 2015 was about the Swedish language-version of Wikipedia and the peer producers' views on their activities, and the overall project's relation to capitalism. A book version of the study was later published by Palgrave MacMillan in 2017. Currently Arwid is doing research on the open data movement. He is also the author of three popular scientific books published in Swedish during his time as a social activist in the 1990's and first years of the new millennium.



The digital world has transformed the conditions for discussing freedom within liberalism. Private property more obviously clashes with the freedom of speech (the public sphere), when the costs of mediated and reproduced art, journalism, information and literature nears zero and the exchange of these takes fluid forms, similar to social communication. The concept of "open", similar but still opposite to "free", has taken on an accentuated ideological importance in this context, but so have also alternative visions of intellectual commons. This article contains a case study of Open Knowledge Network's perspective on openness' relation to private property and capitalism in the informational field. It does so first through an analysis of the network's understanding of the copyleft principle, and second through an analysis of the organisation's view on open business models. A theoretical reading of classical political perspectives on the concept of freedom supports the analysis. One result is the identification of a central ideological lacuna in absent discussions of unconditionally opened-up resources that strengthen the accumulation cycle of capital. This logic favours the negative freedom of closed business models in the competition with open ones that could foster more positive notions of freedom, although open business models are generally advocated and commons are mentioned as desirable. In a dominant ideological formation, openness is used to promote its opposite in the economic field.