Library Header Image
LSE Research Online LSE Library Services

Moral orders in contribution cultures

Powell, Alison (2018) Moral orders in contribution cultures. Communication, Culture & Critique, 11 (4). 513 – 529. ISSN 1753-9129

[img] Text - Accepted Version
Download (729kB)
Identification Number: 10.1093/ccc/tcy023


This article examines how decisions are made and justified within cultures of contribution using an “operational pragmatics.” Peer-production and contribution cultures are enfolded in a dynamic of resistance and appropriation in relation to capitalism. Open-source and contribution-based cultural processes have been critiqued as tending towards bureaucracy or becoming enfolded in a never-ending neoliberal imaginary from which escape or transcendence become impossible. An examination of the values expressed within a peer-production community challenges these perspectives and shows how “operational pragmatics” can provide moral justifications through reference to matters of principle and matters of design. Conflating these matters complicates claims about the inherent virtues of participation, especially in technical cultures. A qualitative analysis of an open-source hardware project shows how competing moral justifications unfold, and how the challenges that they pose to capitalism may be tenuous or temporary because of the way that justificatory regimes work within technology development under capitalism.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2018 Oxford University Press
Divisions: Media and Communications
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Date Deposited: 10 Oct 2018 11:08
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2023 11:57

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics