The commons is the cultural and natural resources accessible to all members of a society, including natural materials such as air, water, and a habitable earth. These resources are held in common, not owned privately.|
Digital commons (economics)
Mayo Fuster Morell proposed a definition of digital commons as "as an information and knowledge resources that are collectively created and owned or shared between or among a community and that tend to be non-exclusivedible, that is, be (generally freely) available to third parties. Thus, they are oriented to favor use and reuse, rather than to exchange as a commodity. Additionally, the community of people building them can intervene in the governing of their interaction processes and of their shared resources".
Main article: Digital commons (economics)
As a global system of computers interconnected by telecommunication technologies consisting of millions of private, public, academic, business, and government resources, it is difficult to argue that the Internet is a global commons. These computing resources are largely privately owned and subject to private property law, although many are government owned and subject to public law. The World Wide Web, as a system of interlinked hypertext documents, either public domain (like Wikipedia itself) or subject to copyright law, is, at best, a mixed good.
The resultant virtual space or cyberspace, however, is often viewed as an electronic global commons that allows for as much or more freedom of expression as any public space. Access to those digital commons and the actual freedom of expression allowed does vary widely by geographical area. Management of the electronic global commons presents as many issues as do other commons. In addition to issues related to inequity in access, issues such as net neutrality, Internet censorship, Internet privacy, and electronic surveillance arise
Originally in medieval England the common was an integral part of the manor, and was thus legally part of the estate in land owned by the lord of the manor, but over which certain classes of manorial tenants and others held certain rights. By extension, the term "commons" has come to be applied to other resources which a community has rights or access to. The older texts use the word "common" to denote any such right, but more modern usage is to refer to particular rights of common, and to reserve the name "common" for the land over which the rights are exercised. A person who has a right in, or over, common land jointly with another or others is called a commoner.]
In middle Europe, commons respectively small-scale agriculture in especially southern Germany, Austria and the alpine countries in general were kept, in some parts till the present. Some studies have compared the German and English dealings with the commons between the late medieval times and the agrarian reforms of the 18/19th century. The UK were quite radical with doing away and enclosing former commons, while southwestern Germany (and the alpine countries as e.g. Switzerland) had the most advanced commons structures and was much more willing to keep them. The Lower Rhine region took an intermediate position.However, the UK and the former dominons have till today a large amount of Crown land which often is used for community or conservatin purposes
Global commons is a term typically used to describe international, supranational, and global resource domains in which common-pool resources are found. Global commons include the earth's shared natural resources, such as the high oceans, the atmosphere, outer space and the Antarctic in particular. Cyberspace may also meet the definition of a global commons.
The term "commons" is intertwined with the English social history of the "commons" and the "enclosure." "Commons" referred to traditional rights such as mowing meadows for hay or grazing livestock on common land held in the open field system of old English common law; "enclosure" was the law that ended those traditional rights, converting open fields to private property. Today, some commons still exist in England, Wales, Scotland, and the United States, although their extent is much reduced from the millions of acres that existed until the 17th century.
The term "global commons" is typically used to indicate the earth's shared natural resources, such as the deep oceans, the atmosphere, outer space and the Northern and Southern polar regions, the Antarctic in particular.
According to the World Conservation Strategy, a report on conservation published by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) in collaboration with UNESCO and with the support of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF):
"A commons is a tract of land or water owned or used jointly by the members of a community. The global commons includes those parts of the Earth's surface beyond national jurisdictions — notably the open ocean and the living resources found there — or held in common — notably the atmosphere. The only landmass that may be regarded as part of the global commons is Antarctica ...".
Today, the Internet, World Wide Web and resulting cyberspace are often referred to as global commons. Other usages sometimes include references to open access information of all kinds, including arts and culture, language and science, though these are more formally referred to as the common heritage of mankind.
YouTube as a Public Sphere ? (From Wiki)
A study by S. Edgerly et al., focused on the ability of YouTube to serve as an online public sphere. The researchers examined a large sample of video comments using the California Proposition 8 (2008) as an example. The authors argue that some scholars think the online public sphere is a space where a wide range of voices can be expressed due to the ‘low barrier of entry’ and interactivity. However, they also point at a number of limitations. Edgerly et al. say that the affirmative discourse presupposes that YouTube can be an influential player in the political process and that it can serve as an influential force to politically mobilize young people. The authors mention critiques that say YouTube is built around the popularity of videos with sensationalist content. The research by Edgerly, et al found that the analysed YouTube comments were diverse. They argue that this is a possible indicator that YouTube provides space for public discussion. They also found that YouTube videos’ style influence the nature of the commentary. Finally, they concluded that the video’s ideological stances influenced the language of the comments. The findings of the work suggest that YouTube is a public sphere platform.
Limitations of media and the internet as a public sphere (From Wiki)
Some, like Colin Sparks, note that a new global public sphere ought to be created in the wake of increasing globalization and global institutions, which operate at the supranational level.However, the key questions for him were, whether any media exists in terms of size and access to fulfil this role. The traditional media, he notes, are close to the public sphere in this true sense. Nevertheless, limitations are imposed by the market and concentration of ownership. At present, the global media fail to constitute the basis of a public sphere for at least three reasons. Similarly, he notes that the internet, for all its potential, does not meet the criteria for a public sphere and that unless these are ‘overcome, there will be no sign of a global public sphere’.
German scholars Jürgen Gerhards and Mike S. Schäfer conducted a study in 2009 in order to establish whether the Internet offers a better and broader communication environment compared to quality newspapers. They analysed how the issue of human genome research was portrayed between 1999 and 2001 in popular quality newspapers in both Germany and the United States in comparison to the way it appeared on search engines at the time of their research. Their intention was to analyse what actors and what sort of opinions the subject generated in both print and the Internet and verify whether the online space proved to be a more democratic public sphere, with a wider range of sources and views. Gerhards and Schäfer say they have found ‘’only minimal evidence to support the idea that the internet is a better communication space as compared to print media. In both media, communication is dominated by (bio- and natural) scientific actors; popular inclusion does not occur’’ . The scholar argue that the search algorithms select the sources of information based on the popularity of their links. ‘’Their gatekeeping, in contrast to the old mass media, relies mainly on technical characteristics of websites’’ .For Gerhards and Schäfer the Internet is not an alternative public sphere because less prominent voices end up being silenced by the search engines’ algorithms. ‘’Search engines might actually silence societal debate by giving more space to established actors and institutions’ .
The public sphere and the information age (From Wiki)
Jürgen Habermas mentions in 'Further Reflections on the Public Sphere' about the information age: "Many of the features of our ‘Information Age’ make us resemble the most primitive of social and political forms: the hunting and gathering society. As nomadic peoples, hunters and gatherers have no loyal relationship to territory. They, too, have little “sense of place”; specific activities are not totally fixed to a specific physical settings. The lack of boundaries both in hunting and gathering and in electronic societies leads to many striking parallels. Of all known social types before our own, hunting and gathering societies have tended to be the most egalitarian in terms of the roles of males and females, children and others, and leaders and followers."
The virtual public sphere (From Wiki)
There has been an academic debate about how social media impacts the public sphere. The sociologists Brian Loader and Dan Mercea give an overview of this discussion:They argue that social media offers increasing opportunities for political communication and enable democratic capacities for political discussion within the virtual public sphere. The effect would be that citizens could challenge governments and corporations’ political and economic power. Additionally, new forms of political participation and information sources for the users emerge with the Internet that can e.g. be utilised in online campaigns. However, the two authors point out that social media’s dominant uses are entertainment, consumerism, and content sharing among friends. Loader and Mercea point out that “that individual preferences reveal an unequal spread of social ties with a few giant nodes such as Google, Yahoo, Facebook and YouTube attracting the majority of users”. They also stress that some critics have voiced the concern that there is a lack of seriousness in political communication on social media platforms. Moreover, lines between professional media coverage and user-generated content would blur on social media.
The authors conclude that social media provides new opportunities for political participation, however they warn users of risks to access unreliable sources. The Internet impacts the virtual public sphere in many ways but is not a free utopian platform as some observers argued at the beginning of its history.
公共圏（こうきょうけん、ドイツ語: Öffentlichkeit、英語: Public sphere）は、ドイツの哲学者ユルゲン・ハーバーマス、フランスの哲学者ルイ・アルチュセール、ミシェル・フーコーなどヨーロッパ大陸の哲学や批評において盛んに使われる概念で、私圏（または私領域）の対語。人間の生活の中で、他人や社会と相互に関わりあいを持つ時間や空間、または制度的な空間と私的な空間の間に介在する領域のこと。公共性と訳すこともある。
In economics, a public good is a good that is both non-excludable and non-rivalrous in that individuals cannot be effectively excluded from use and where use by one individual does not reduce availability to others. Gravelle and Rees: "The defining characteristic of a public good is that consumption of it by one individual does not actually or potentially reduce the amount available to be consumed by another individual".
Common goods are defined in economics as goods which are rivalrous and non-excludable. Thus, they constitute one of the four main types of the most common typology of goods based on the criteria:
whether the consumption of a good by one person precludes its consumption by another person (rivalrousness)
whether it is possible to prevent people (consumers) who have not paid for it from having access to it (excludability)
non-rivalité : la consommation du bien par un agent n'a aucun effet sur la quantité disponible de ce bien pour les autres individus, par exemple, le fait que je respire ne prive pas les autres d'air.
non-exclusion : une fois que le bien public est produit, tout le monde peut en profiter.
The theoretical concept of public goods does not distinguish with regard to the geographical region in which a good may be produced or consumed. However, some theorists such as Inge Kaul use the term "global public good" for public goods which is non-rival and non-excludable throughout the whole world, as opposed to a public good which exists in just one national area. Knowledge has been held to be an example of a global public good,
but also as a commons, the knowledge commons
Definitions of the public sphere
What does it mean that something is “public”? Jürgen Habermas says, "We call events and occasions ‘public’ when they are open to all, in contrast to closed or exclusive affairs"
This notion of the public becomes evident in terms such as public health, public education, public opinion or public ownership. They are opposed to the notions of private health, private education, private opinion, and private ownership. The notion of the public is intrinsically connected to the notion of the private.
Habermas stresses that the notion of the public is related to the notion of the common. For Hannah Arendt, the public sphere is therefore “the common world” that “gathers us together and yet prevents our falling over each other”.
Habermas defines the public sphere as a “society engaged in critical public debate”. Conditions of the public sphere are according to Habermas:
The formation of public opinion
All citizens have access.
Conference in unrestricted fashion (based on the freedom of assembly, the freedom of association, the freedom to expression and publication of opinions) about matters of general interest, which implies freedom from economic and political control.
Debate over the general rules governing relations.
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