<CPOV> Beyond the Legacy of the Enlightenment?

nathaniel tkacz nathanieltkacz at gmail.com
Thu Mar 18 16:49:00 CET 2010

hi all - i read that article awhile back. i'm writing on the back of
thirty-odd hours in transit from melbourne to hull, but here goes...

from memory, what i liked about that article was that it was one of the few
that took the concept of the encyclopedia seriously. it gave it some
attention, which doesn't happen all that often. however, i thought the link
to heterotopias wasn't very interesting and i didn't agree with it. it
wasn't very interesting because (from memory) it didn't DO anything to the
concept. it just applied it. this kind of theorisation isn't very
interesting for me. moreover, heterotopias are those "really existing"
spaces of difference, those spaces on the margins. while some parts of (the
english) wikipedia are novel, other parts are not. in particular, the
aspects of wikipedia that align with the Enlightenment seem very
conservative and not in any way marginal. many wikipedians that i have come
across have a very naive understanding of what knowledge is - a very
positivistic understanding. from this perspective i find it hard to frame
wikipedia as a heterotopia. the other question is: what do you get out of
this "move" anyway? does calling it a heterotopia do anything to wikipedia?
does it force us to rethink anything?


Nate Tkacz

Research Fellow,
RMIT University

Twitter: http://twitter.com/__nate__
Homepage: www.nathanieltkacz.net
Current project: http://networkcultures.org/wpmu/cpov/about-2/

On Thu, Mar 18, 2010 at 12:40 AM, Jon Awbrey <jawbrey at att.net> wrote:

> Andrew & All,
> Looking back, the sources that I found most helpful
> in understanding what goes on in Wikipedia are these:
> John Dewey, ''The Quest for Certainty''
> Argyris and Schön’s ideas about espoused values vs. actual values --
> http://www.infed.org/thinkers/argyris.htm
> http://www.infed.org/thinkers/et-schon.htm
> http://www.scu.edu.au/schools/gcm/ar/arp/argyris.html
> http://www.scu.edu.au/schools/gcm/ar/arp/argyris2.html
> Max Weber, ''The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism''
> http://xroads.virginia.edu/~HYPER/WEBER/cover.html
> William S. Burroughs, ''Naked Lunch''
> Sorrentino, Richard M., and Roney, Christopher J.R. (2000),
> ''The Uncertain Mind : Individual Differences in Facing the Unknown'',
> (Essays in Social Psychology, Miles Hewstone (ed.)), Taylor and Francis,
> Philadelphia, PA.
> More details and other sources are listed here:
> http://wikipediareview.com/index.php?s=&showtopic=15478&view=findpost&p=168787
> As usual, the "review of the literature" exhausted my energies for the time
> being,
> so I will have to write out the rest of what I opened this page to write
> later on.
> Jon Awbrey
> andrew.famiglietti at lcc.gatech.edu wrote:
> |
> | I actually blogged about this same idea awhile ago here:
> |
> | http://blogs.bgsu.edu/afamigl/2009/03/26/tasty-theory-clusters/
> |
> | The thoughts in that blog post were drawn from an early draft
> | of my dissertation, however I ultimately abandoned the notion
> | of "Wikipedia as Heterotopia" because I found it unhelpful.
> |
> | After reading this article, I remain confident that I made the right
> decision.
> | It's true that Wikipedia, like Borges' mythical Chinese Encyclopedia,
> brings
> | together many unfamiliar elements,
> |
> | from
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_animals_with_fraudulent_diplomas
> | to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unicron,
> |
> | but I'm not sure how the Heterotopia helps us understand the
> | particular construction that is Wikipedia (and Foucault himself
> | insists that Hereotopias are specific constructions!).  Why does
> | Wikipedia associate the particular elements that it does?  Why are
> | other things left out?  Can we discover some contours to the content
> | left behind by the endless clash of the drives to archive and the drive
> | to erase that are embodied by those two great camps, the inclusionists
> and
> | the deletionists?
> |
> | I'm still trying to answer those questions, and I'm already getting some
> helpful
> | insights from participating on this list! I'm just not sure how helpful
> it is
> | to define Wikipedia as "Heterotopia," even though I think it clearly fits
> | this definition.
> |
> | - Andy
> --
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