How are the ICTs changing the role of civic society and its interaction in the policy-making?: The case of the Free Culture Movement

GT 5.11 Open Government y ciudadanía digital

Mayo Fuster Morell
Joan Subirats Humet

The paper will reflect on how the information and communicational technologies are reshaping the role of civic society and, in concrete, civic society dialogue and interaction with political institutions in the policy-making process. The empirical analysis will be developed though the case of the free culture movement. The FCM refers a network of individuals and organizations, linked by more or less dense networks, solidarity ties and moments of confluence, sharing a loose collective identity and a common set of values and principles (most importantly accessibility and the flow of information and knowledge, creativity, participative formats, network settings and communal ownership), that have recently mobilized on the policy issues linked to Intellectual property and information and knowledge accessibility. Well known examples of FCM expressions are Anonymous, Wikileaks or Wikipedia. The FCM is characterised by an extensive use of information and communication technologies (ICTs), which resulted in “new” forms of cyberactivism, mobilizing and lobbing. The paper will provide a mapping of FCM composition and analyses the pattern of dialogue and interaction of the civic society free culture expressions with the institutions. In this regard, several types of forms of activism can be distinguished at the frame of the FCM; together with strategic approaches to the political institution in policy-making. The empirical analysis will be based on content and network analysis of 10 documents produced by the FCM and 20 semi-structured online questionnaires administered to movement’s organizations.