Vasilis Kostakis (PhD)

Title: ‘The Political Economy of Information Production in the Social Web: Towards a "Partner State Approach"’

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Drechsler

Opponents: Dr. Niki Lambropoulos, Department of Computing, London South Bank University, United Kingdom

Dr. Mathieu O'Neil, Senior Lecturer, University of Paris Sorbonne, France, and Adjunct Research Fellow, Australian Demographic and Social Research Institute, Australian National University, Australia.

Defense: 11 July 2011

Abstract: In a globalized world, where a considerable number of nations move on towards information-based structures of society, it becomes obvious that the impact of the Internet extends beyond a restricted technocratic sphere. In this thesis, some of the interrelations of Internet, Society and Democracy are discussed, on a dialectical spectrum. This study looks, within an ambivalent context that does not ignore the problems and threats, for the possibilities for human progress, with the aim to contribute to the understanding of the phenomena under investigation (with a focus on chances and positive results), following the approach of the Frankfurt School and especially Horkheimer’s thought. While people enrich and expand the information Commons, building an alternative political economy within capitalism, this thesis aims at contributing to the narrative about the transformation of the modern capitalist modes of production into an autonomous, meaningful form of socio-economic life by introducing the Partner State Approach (PSA). This thesis argues that the PSA can constitute a pragmatic historical compromise among the civil society – which directly produces use value – and the private sector – where the creative entrepreneurial spirit flourishes and creates several positive and negative externalities – and a step closer to the realisation of the Utopia of a society where the human being, in the Horkheimerian style, produces its own historical form of life. 

Keywords: Commons, peer production, open source, information age, economic development, ICT Paradigm, governance, dissertations.