Wikimedia Fellowships/Project Ideas/The status of collaboration: appropriations of the Web for constructions of collective narratives
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THIS RESEARCH AIMS TO investigate the status of collaboration from the processes of constituting and implementing networks in a virtual environment. From an ethnographic experience in virtual communities, specially in Brazil, its main goal is to establish conceptual limits to the Theory of Cooperation, evaluating the influence of processes of convergence and design of experience in the construction of literary narratives (fictional and nonfictional).
In particular, this project proposes to conceptually define what reasons do motivate Brazilian users to collaborate, what they are searching for in collective projects such as a collaborative narrative and in what aspects do they think their project succeeded or not. We focus on Brazilian experience in order to aprehend the dynamics of network socialization and social boundaries that constitute most of this particular identity.
WHEN IT COMES TO WHAT WE CONVENTIONALLY CALL "WEB 2.0", there are a plenty of researchers that simply use indiscriminately the concept of cooperation or collaboration to describe multiple forms of group relations. There is no systematization over this subject and much of this theory reassembles classical sociological perspectives of interactionism of game theory. This project aims to mount a theoretical and empirical basis over an ethnographical experience in which the users motivations will be in focus.
This project is largely oriented to Brazilian communities. Although it will not concentrate over Portuguese/Brazilian Wikipedia Community, we will evocate experiences over other networks and social media that might point to common dilemmas over the tools and platforms. What strategies could we set up to expand the user base of a given project, how could we keep users constantly excited over the collaborative proccess, and why do some users collaborate and others do not are some of the issues that move us, and we think they are shared by the WikiMedia Foundation in your own particular effort.
In order to achieve these goals, we will produce a first-phase map of the state of Brazilian collaborative networks and projects. This will be a broad mapping effort and will be useful to identify similar players and to categorize initiatives. It will also result in a second-phase quantitative research, when we will do a survey with users and project owners/editors about their interests and needs. Further on our third stage will be the qualitative research, which will be presented as a virtual ethnography. The final report may constitute a book, which would be very helpful to other research experiences, not only in Brazil.
We also think that, as an emerging economy, Brazil has a special interest for other countries, and try to understand its peculiar dynamics on collaborative proccess is of strong necessity and will have large impact both in academic readers and in market. As we conduct this research in a academic basis, also funded by public university resources such as the Fluminense Federal University's Department of Media and Cultural Studies, we have support to experiment some variables in minor scales. Also this project will sum our research program on Virtual Communities and Collaborative Networks and allow students to advance in their theoretical inquires.
Submitted by 
VIKTOR CHAGAS. Writer, journalist and professor at the Department of Media and Cultural Studies at Fluminense Federal University (UFF), Brazil. Coordinator of the Production and Applied Research on Electronic Games and Collaborative Networks Pole at Fluminense Federal University. Editorial coordinator and coordinator of communications projects at Overmundo Institute, one of the largest Brazilian collaborative projects. BA in Social Communications, MD in Political History and PhD candidate also in Political History at Center of Research and Documentation on Brazilian Contemporary History (Cpdoc) at Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV).
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