söndag 25 maj 2014

Articles I've read (June last year)

Last year, I read a lot of articles during the first half of the year (Jan-June). I've already written blog posts about stuff I read in Jan, Feb, March, April and May (2013). This is the last batch of articles I read last year (June) since I'm generally just too busy with teaching during the autumn term to have time to read articles (but I do continue to read books!). My next blog post about articles I have read will jump to January this year - hooray!

Batch/week 1 - texts about the so-called "creative industries"
Comment: Just as in April (last year), I read a bunch of articles on "creative industries" and "social network markets" for a paper I was working on about "Net literature in China". We did in the end not get that paper together, but we have recently re-submitted our abstract and will soon get to know if they want us to write the full text!
  • Potts, J., Cunningham, S., Hartley, J., & Ormerod, P. (2008). Social network markets: a new definition of the creative industries. Journal of cultural economics, 32(3), 167-185. */ "We propose a new definition of the creative industries in terms of social network markets". I don't remember much about the article and I'm sorry to say that I find that several of "these articles" (also see the April batch with creative-industries-articles) to be: 1) full of long an fancy words, 2) less satisfying in terms of new great interesting ideas and 3) overlapping quite a lot with each other. /*
  • Banks, J., & Humphreys, S. (2008). The Labour of User Co-Creators Emergent Social Network Markets?. Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, 14(4), 401-418. */ "Co-creative relations among professional media producers and consumers indicate a profound shift in which our frameworks and categories of analysis (such as the traditional labour theory of value) that worked well in the context of an industrial media economy are perhaps less helpful than before." Further, see my comment on the previous article. /*
  • Humphreys, S. (2009). The economies within an online social network market. A case study of Ravelry’ in T. Flew (Ed.) Communication, Creativity and Global Citizenship: Refereed Proceedings of the Australian and New Zealand Communications Association (ANZCA) Annual Conference. */ A case study of "the specialist Social Networking Site Ravelry; a site for knitters, crocheters, spinners and dyers". I found the connection to hands-on empirical material (instead of just theorising) refreshing and interesting. /*
  • Thompson, H. (2011). China's Creative Industries: Copyright, Social Network Markets and the Business of Culture in a Digital Age. Journal of Contemporary Asia, 41(3), 510-512. */ This is a review of Lucy Montgomery's 2010 book "China's creative industries" /*
  • Ren, X., & Montgomery, L. (2012). Chinese online literature: creative consumers and evolving business models. Arts Marketing: An International Journal, 2(2), 118-130. */ This article is the single most relevant and useful article in the context of the article I am writing and I learned a lot. "Chinese Online Literature is a genre that [...] has roots in the centrally controlled system of cultural production [...] which restricted access to literature that was not considered politically sound or morally uplifting, such as fantasy, romance novels or ghost stories which inadvertently created a demand for self-published amateur fiction that could be accessed online." /*
  • Kim, J. (2012). The institutionalization of YouTube: From user-generated content to professionally generated content. Media, Culture & Society, 34(1), 53-67. */ "This article explores the institutionalization of YouTube: its transformation from user-generated content (UGC) - oriented as a virtual village - into a professionally generated content (PGC) video site, especially after being purchased by Google." /*

Batch/week 2 - texts by Inge Røpke
I've appreciated Inge Røpke and her work ever since I met her in at the "Green ICT for growth and sustainability?" workshop in Vienna in May 2012. I checked out her work and decided to read up on some of the things she had written!
  • Nyborg, S., & Røpke, I. (2011). Energy impacts of the smart home - conflicting visions. Energy Efficiency First: The foundation of a low-carbon society. Stockholm: European Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, 2011. p. 1849-1860. */ Super interesting! "what visions are formulated regarding the role of households in the smart grid? What visions are articulated of the functionalities of the smart home? [...] we critically investigate these visions to explore if they support the development of sustainable energy consumption." [...] "The concept of the smart home is thus just one among many belonging to a large group of concepts such as the smart house, the electronic cottage, home automation, the networked home, the intelligent home, and the digital home". /*
  • Røpke, I., Haunstrup Christensen, T., & Ole Jensen, J. (2010). Information and communication technologies–A new round of household electrification. Energy Policy, 38(4), 1764-1773. */ The authors argue that the integration of ICT into everyday practices is a new "round" of electrification of the home and that it will - in line with previous rounds - lead to higher levels of electricity consumption." [...] "The long-term trend towards ever-increasing residential electricity consumption was not broken until the early 1990s. Since then, household electricity consumption has been virtually constant." Very interesting! /*
  • Røpke, I. (2012). The unsustainable directionality of innovation–The example of the broadband transition. Research Policy, 41(9), 1631-1642. */ This article [argues] that much innovation tends to develop in an unsustainable direction and that public regulation falls far short of the challenge." Again very interesting! /*
  • Røpke, I., & Christensen, T. H. (2012). Energy impacts of ICT–Insights from an everyday life perspective. Telematics and Informatics, 29(4), 348-361. */ "ICTs have a great potential for reducing energy consumption, but the realisation of this depends on the wider economic and political conditions. [...] Several recent studies [...] tend to concentrate on ICT applications that produce environmental gains and focus on second-order effects, ignoring first-order and/or third-order effects." Again interesting. /*
  • Raudsepp-Hearne, C., Peterson, G. D., Tengö, M., Bennett, E. M., Holland, T., Benessaiah, K., MacDonald, G., & Pfeifer, L. (2010). Untangling the environmentalist's paradox: Why is human well-being increasing as ecosystem services degrade?. BioScience, 60(8), 576-589. */ "The Millenium Ecosystem Assessment paradoxically found that human well-being has increased despite large global declines in most ecosystem services. We assess four explanations of these divergent trends." [...] "the use of most ecosystem services is increasing at the same time that Earth's capacity to provide these services is decreasing." /*
  • Agrawal, A., Gupta, A., Hathaway, M., Narotzky, S., Raffles, H., Skaria, A., ... & Agrawal, A. (2005). Environmentality: Community, Intimate Government, and the Making of Environmental Subjects in Kumaon, India. Current Anthropology, 46(2), 161-190. */ Good article, I guess. How and under what conditions do people (in rural India) become engaged in caring for their immediate environment (forests etc.). How do people come to care about their environment, i.e. how are "environmental subjects" created? /* 

Batch/week 3 - texts about ICT for Sustainability (ICT4S)
Comment: After I attended the ICT4S conference in Zürich in February, I felt I should read up.
  • Spreng, D. (1993). Possibilities for substitution between energy, time and information. Energy policy, 21(1), 13-23. */ After having read Spreng's short article, I wanted to read the longer one. "In this paper, possibilities for substitution between energy, time and information are discussed [...] ICT could be used to make processes more energy efficient and conserve energy but is instead used to speed up processes. The article proposes three extremes; starving philosopher, primitive man and industrial man. There are interesting ideas in this article but I also feel they could perhaps have been expressed in some other, better way. /*
  • Hilty, L., Lohmann, W., & Huang, E. (2011). Sustainability and ICT—an overview of the field. POLITEIA, 27(104), 13-28. */ The article gives an overview of existing approaches to using ICT "in the service of sustainability". Good article! /*
  • Hilbert, M., & López, P. (2011). The world’s technological capacity to store, communicate, and compute information. Science, 332(6025), 60-65. */ The article estimates the development of the global technological capacity to store, communicate and compute information between 1986 and 2007. During that period, globally stored information grew by 23% per year, communication by 28% per year and general computing capacity by 58% per year. /*
  • Melville, N. P. (2010). Information systems innovation for environmental sustainability. MIS Quarterly, 34(1), 1-21. */ You've just got to love (or hate) and article that starts with "Deterioration of the natural environment poses risks and opportunities for business organization." Information Systems (IS) is area of its own and I don't really understand the area so this article was hard for me to "assimilate". "issues at the intersection of information, organisztions, and the natural environment are precisely the types of problems for which IS researchers are uniquely equipped to analyse". Is that really so?" /*
  • Hilty, L. M., Köhler, A., Von Schéele, F., Zah, R., & Ruddy, T. (2006). Rebound effects of progress in information technology. Poiesis & Praxis, 4(1), 19-38. */ "it seems difficult for society to translate its efficiency progress into progress in terms of individual, organizional or socio-economic goals. In particular it seems to be difficult for individuals to work more efficiently, for organizaitons to be more productive and for the socio-economic system to be more sustainable by using incresingly efficient IT." Rebound effects are the main culprit. /*
  • Dahlin, J. E., Larsson, P., & Erlich, C. (2013). The use of board games in the engineering education for the purpose of stimulating peer participation in lecture theatre discussions. Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Engineering Education for Sustainable Development (EESD'13), Cambridge, UK. */ Written by acquaintances of mine, it is unfortunately obvious that the paper for the most part was an afterthought (e.g. not planned in advance - not enough/the right kind of data was collected). Still, the paper was helpful for me personally as I've been using the board game in question in one of my courses. /*

Batch/week 4 - semi-academic texts about technology, sustainability, poverty
Comment: These texts are great (despite, or because (?) they are not academic texts). They are all very critical of the business-as-usual deployment of technology. They all ask "what if?" and force you to think one step further... All the texts below are available on the Internet.
  • Raghavan, B. (2012). A time when there was still time. Blog post at Contrapostion. */ We knew everything we needed to know about sustainability and unsustainability already back in the 1970's ("A time when there was still time"), but we didn't act on that knowledge. We blew it. /*
  • Bardi, U. (2013) Suvival tips from the gypsies. Blog post at Resource Crisis/Cassandra’s Legacy. */ Great blog post and here are the 10 survival tips in question; 1) In battle, the best strategy is flight, 2) Don't carry and don't use weapons, 3) Cherish your mobility, 4) Travel light in life, 5) Cultivate creative obfuscation, 6) A man's family is his refuge, 7) What you learned to do yourself, can never be stolen, 8) Catch the occasion when you see it, 9) Be jealous of your identity and 10) Be a free spirit. /*
  • De Decker, K. (2008) Faster internet is impossible.  Blog post at Low-tech magazine: Doubts on progress and technology. */ "the speed advantage that faster connections offer, is only temporary. Faster connections inevitably bring new applications which eat up the extra bandwidth. [...] Every year each of us downloads (and uploads) almost twice as much digital information as the year before. [...] internet users have to switch to faster connections continually to maintain the same speed [and] surfing the net will always test your patience, regardless of how fast your connection is." /*
  • De Decker, K. (2009) Truckloads of hard disks. Blog post at Low-tech magazine: Doubts on progress and technology. */ Since the capacity of storage media evolve faster than the speed of the internet connection, it makes sense to load up a truck of hard drives and drive away - instead of transferring (large) amounts of data through the internet. How far can you walk with a 500 GB hard drive before the internet "catches up with you"? With a DSL connection, you can walk for more than 1000 kilometers with that one hard drive and deliver the contents faster...  So how fast is a carrier pigeon with a Micro SD card attached to its leg then... :-) /*
  • Toyama, K. (2010). Can technology end poverty?. Boston Review, 35(6). Available on the Internet. */ Is computing power really what the poor(est) need, asks computer scientist Kentaro Toyama some years after having started up Microsoft Research's Bangalore Lab in India. His own experiences are for the most part disappointing. I very much recommend this article! "Technology - no matter how well designed - is only a magnifier of human intent and capacity. It is not a substitute." [...] "The successes of ICTD [ICT for development] are few, fleeting, and very far between." /*
  • Responses to Toyama, K. (2010). Can technology end poverty? Responses by Negroponte, Karlan, Fung, Morozov, Mas, Eagle, Aker and Zhenwei Qiang as well as a response to the responses by Toyama. Available on the Internet. */ Toyama's text does not stand uncontradicted. While some (partly) agree, most don't. It's really nice to read both sides of the argument though. /*
  • Raghavan, B. (2013) Networking for undeveloping regions. Blog post at Contrapostion. */ Let's face the facts, many/most "developing countries" won't ever develop. A more appropriate term would instead be "undeveloping countries". Excellent text by my nowadays co-author Barath. /*


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