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Hello! My name is Johanna Niesyto and I'm a big fan of Wikipedia and the other Wikimedia projects. I researched about the de- and en-Wikipedia from a cultural studies informed political science perspective and formerly I was a member of the board of WMDE.
Research on Wikipedia
I have chosen Wikipedia as example since current analysis conducted in the field of cultural studies and political science has focused primarily on virtualized communication of social movement actors (e.g. Baringhorst 2005; Winter 2009). Hence, I hope that my research in two language versions of Wikpedia (DE; EN;) can trace rather appropriation of new media in popular culture.
‘Collaboration culture’ implies the willingness to share information and opinions and the willingness to be open towards the communication of the ‘other’. Besides, cooperation requires „the democratic minimum of the shared ability to initiate deliberation” (Bohman 2007: 93) This ability is best illustrated in Wikis as another many-to-many communication application. A Wiki is a type of collaborative website, a set of linked pages that enables documents to be authored collectively. Its structure and content are open to editing and evolution. When it comes to public outbound-oriented communication the most interesting thing is the discussion page of Wikipedia. Research on Wikipedia suggests that due to the pluralist and non-hierarchic nature of the medium, Wiki debates are often conflictual and their solution is found in ambiguity (Matei/Dobrescu 2006). This underlines interactions between decentred publics are rather in favour of making a common structure of dissent visible. The aim of my thesis was to examine Wikipedia as one of many virtualised communicative spaces where connections to the political are made. By interrogating the political quality of virtualised translingual public sphere(s), the key question at stake is: When do Wikipedia discussions turn political? How minimial politics are visible on the discussions pages?
Information about my dissertation project you find here; for details about my former research group see Humanities Collaborative Research Centre 'Media Upheavals'
I will attend this year's Wikimania. I look very much forward to get to know Wikipedians coming from different places as I am curious to learn more about their personal 'transwiki' experiences.