Peer Production Theory Moves into the Mainstream

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George Dafermos:

"Until 2010, the number of academics focusing on peer production was quite limited. That changed in the 2010s with the development of increasingly more research groups in various universities around the world. Benkler and his colleagues from the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society (which Benkler co-directs) at Harvard have been very active11 and helped to establish peer production as a serious research field in the social sciences. Equally extensive and influential has been the work of the P2P lab of researchers led by Vasilis Kostakis at the Tallinn University of Technology12 and of the research group on the digital commons (“Dimmons”) led by Mayo Fuster Morell at the Open University of Catalonia.

From a more general point of view, the 2010s was the decade in which the theory of peer production matured and began to have a wider impact. The P2PF played a crucial role in this process. Bauwens has been very actively writing and publishing articles, organizing events and conferences and promoting the P2PF as a think-tank, to which commons-friendly policy makers, ethical entrepreneurs and activist organizations can turn for advice. In parallel with the P2PF, he also contributed to the development of like-minded projects that shared the P2PF’s objective to agitate for the commons and peer production, such as the Commons Strategies Group (CSG), which he founded in 2009, with the American commons theorist David Bollier and Silke Helfrich, a German author and activist. CSG organized two large international conferences in Berlin in 2010 and 2013, with two hundred speakers from all over the world, and published two important anthologies in 2013 and 2015 (Bollier & Helfrich, 2013, 2015)." (


* Article: Prophets and Advocates of Peer Production. By George Dafermos. Chapter 7: The Handbook of Peer Production. Wiley, 2020

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