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Thesis

McKelvey, Fenwick (2008). The Code and Politics of Drupal and The Pirate Bay: Alternative Horizons of Web2.0 MA Thesis, Joint Programme in Communication and Culture, York/Ryerson Universities.

Abstract

Code politics investigates the ramifications of digital code to contemporary politics. Recent developments on the web, known as web2.0, have attracted the attention of the field.Web2.0 is an explosion of web platforms: structurations of humans and code with specific affordances. Platforms, then, have distinct code politics. The thesis compares the code politics of two web2.0 platforms: Drupal, a content management platform, and The Pirate Bay, a file sharing website and political movement. The works of Ernesto Laclau, Chantal Mouffe, and Bruno Latour on articulation theory offers a theoretical lens to compare the articulatory capacities of the two platforms. The Drupal case studies the complex interactions between humans and code, and addresses how Drupal functions as an empty platform allowing its users to reconstitute its digital code. The Pirate Bay case demonstrates how a political movement uses code as part of their political platform. Not only does the group advocate file sharing, they allow thousands of people across the world to share information freely. The two platforms demonstrate alternative, commons-based structurations of web2.0 at a time when most web2.0 platforms only seek a revenue model.