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  • Toward a Critical Political Economy of the Digital Commons

    Benjamin J. Birkinbine

    Chapter from the book: Birkinbine, B. 2020. Incorporating the Digital Commons: Corporate Involvement in Free and Open Source Software.


    This chapter develops a critical political economy of the digital commons that incorporates a critique of capitalism. I ground the study within a dialectical understanding of capitalism and the commons that accounts for the contradictions and tensions existing between these two systems. To do so, I investigate the nature of commodity production and the exploitation of labour, which is guided by Marxist political economy. I also draw from theories of digital labour, digital capitalism, and Marxist-feminist theories of social reproduction to explore the ways in which the digital labour of FLOSS communities is reproduced over time. The chapter concludes by exploring critical theories of the digital commons and some more recent proposals for understanding circuits of commons value with a specific focus on how these models can be used to understand FLOSS production.

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    How to cite this chapter
    Birkinbine, B. 2020. Toward a Critical Political Economy of the Digital Commons. In: Birkinbine, B, Incorporating the Digital Commons. London: University of Westminster Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.16997/book39.b

    This chapter distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution + Noncommercial + NoDerivatives 4.0 license. Copyright is retained by the author(s)

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    Published on Feb. 26, 2020