Open Social Scholarship Annotated Bibliography/Social Justice and Open Knowledge Facilitated by Technology

From Wikibooks, open books for an open world
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Open Social Scholarship Annotated Bibliography
← Prototyping Social Justice and Open Knowledge Facilitated by Technology Action and Activism →

Category Overview[edit]

The advent of the digital age has drastically affected the means by which social justice operates today. Authors in this category study how open knowledge is a tool for social justice and how it can enhance fields such as medicine and the humanities, as well as society more generally. The articles vary between those that study the relationship between open knowledge and social justice and those that argue for open knowledge as a means for social justice. Various case studies are addressed, such as the Bringing Europe’s eLectronic Infrastructures to Expanding Frontiers (BELIEF) Project Digital Library, that investigate how social justice activists have worked towards shaping internet technologies in a way that serves their needs (Castelli, Taylor, and Zoppi 2010). Resources also explain how internet technologies are used in rural areas and the Global South (Paliwala 2007). This category addresses issues pertaining to open access and open source, such as Chopra and Dexter’s consideration of Freedom Zero, the freedom to use software in any way or for any purpose (2009). Theoretical approaches to various issues raised by authors are also offered (Christians 2015). Overall, this category addresses the various technologies and approaches that enable the development of open knowledge and social justice.


Castelli, Donatella, Simon J.E. Taylor, and Franco Zoppi. 2010. “Open Knowledge on E-Infrastructure: The BELIEF Project Digital Library.” IST-Africa, 2010, 1–15.

Castelli, Taylor, and Zoppi discuss the Bringing Europe’s eLectronic Infrastructures to Expanding Frontiers (BELIEF) Project, which aims to ensure the development and adoption of e-infrastructures on a worldwide scale. They focus on providing users with documentation that matches their search criteria based on their professional profiles. The authors outline the objectives of the project, introduce the methodology, provide a technology description, and discuss system developments. In the results section, Castelli, Taylor, and Zoppi analyze the impact of the Digital Library on the target audience and explain that there was a remarkable growth of the community due to the successful outcomes of the organized events. They study statistical data on user’s provenance, top sites, top operations, and yearly trend. On business benefits and sustainability, Castelli, Taylor, and Zoppi summarize their views by explaining that the implementation and operation costs of a Digtial Library include training Content Providers’ Correspondents, maintaining the network of liaisons that is necessary to promote the community leveraged by the running Digital Library, and performing harvesting operations to OpenDLib Administrators. They conclude that the effective implementation of the Digital Library was achieved, especially in terms of harmonization of metadata from the various information sources.

**Chopra, Samir, and Scott Dexter. 2009. “The Freedoms of Software and Its Ethical Uses.” Ethics and Information Technology 11 (4): 287–97.

Chopra explains that the difference between free and proprietary software is that the latter restricts user actions through end user license agreement while the former eliminates restrictions on users. He starts by explaining the concept of free software, talking about software freedom, the Freedom Zero problem, the ethical use of scientific knowledge, and scientific knowledge and property rights. He then discusses community discourse and Freedom Zero (the freedom to use a software in any way or for any purpose), explaining that Freedom Zero supports deliberative discourse within development and user communities. When exploring the ethical uses of software, Chopra answers the question of whether Freedom Zero is inaccurate and whether a free software licensor could be liable for granting Freedom Zero. The author concludes that Freedom Zero facilitates a broader debate about software’s larger social significance.

Christians, Clifford. G. 2015. “Social Justice and Internet Technology.” New Media and Society.

Christians looks at internet technology from a social/cultural point of view. He claims that relativism is a crisis in ethics, proposing an intellectual flow as coherent articulation of social justice with internet technology. This flow consists of ontological realism, justice as intrinsic worthiness, and a human-centred philosophy of technology. Christians discusses relativism as a watershed for ethics, talking about media ethics in particular, and listing a few problems including the Gamergate controversy,, privacy in Facebook networks, red envelopes in China, and online hate speech. He then moves to Naturalism, explaining that moral anti-realism denies the validity of an intellectual apparatus for ethics, and that philosophical realism is needed for a credible concept of social justice. The author proposes that justice in the moral realist term is grounded in the inherent dignity of the human species. Christians denies the epistemology of the neutral view on internet technology, and proposes that instead of looking for technical improvements in instruments, one needs to reconceive the technology itself. The author then poses the issue of common good, emphasizing the importance of community. He concludes that through social justice, individuals can do great things to help with the development of today’s world.

Dunlop, Judith M., and Graham Fawcett. 2008. “Technology-Based Approaches to Social Work and Social Justice.” Journal of Policy Practice 7 (2): 140–54.

Dunlop and Fawcett investigate the need for integration of traditional and electronic advocacy models in the field of social work. They investigate whether social workers are able to assist organizations enter the information age by using technology-based approaches to help disadvantaged populations, and by implementing electronic advocacy practices to promote social justice in local communities. The authors offer a historical background on social work advocacy by examining traditional and electronic advocacy practices. They continue by exploring types of social or free software that could be used by nonprofit organizations and investigate the application of social software to social work advocacy practices in the age of technology. Dunlop and Fawcett conclude that there is a need for technologically competent social workers for the purpose of organizing virtual communities and providing leadership in the electronic advocacy practice.

Edwards, Heather R., and Richard Hoefer. 2010. “Are Social Work Advocacy Groups Using Web 2.0 Effectively?” Journal of Policy Practice 9 (3): 220-39.

Edwards and Hoefer address social work advocacy efforts and explore the potential of Web 2.0 technology in the field. The authors study social work advocacy, explaining that there are various approaches that allow social workers to succeed in their advocacy efforts. These approaches include communication with decision-makers, resource management, and information sharing. They also investigate Web 2.0 and how it allows decentralized knowledge building by going through examples of social media such as blogs, RSS feeds, wikis, podcasting, video sharing, social networking, and social bookmarking. When discussing web advocacy, Edwards and Hoefer talk about ways social work advocates use Web 2.0. The article continues with a presentation of previous research, and an explanation of the methods employed such as sampling and data collection. The results include two sections: the use of various internet components, and differences between general social work organizations and state chapters of the National Association of Social Workers. The authors then discuss the results and explain that social work organizations do not often use Web 2.0 or previous web technologies for advocacy. They conclude that Web 2.0 technologies enhance inclusion in political discourse, accessibility of information, and the formation of relationships that strengthen the advocacy effort.

Farrington, John, and Conor Farrington. 2005. “Rural Accessibility, Social Inclusion and Justice: Towards Conceptualisation.” Journal of Transport Geography 13 (1): 1–12.

Farrington and Farrington explain the concept of accessibility in the rural context and discuss its central placement in social inclusion and social justice policy agenda. Authors discuss accessibility and the welfare concept in human geography, accessibility as normative and relative, and accessibility from the perspective of social inclusion and social justice policy agenda. The authors discuss accessibility and policy, noting that accessibility and social justice are two characteristics of policy adjustment. They list four dimensions that add value to the construct of social justice: space and location, sustainability, integration within the structural view of the causes of social exclusion, and empowerment of citizens through participation. Farrington and Farrington conclude that accessibility is about life opportunities and is thus a necessary condition for social inclusion and justice.

Goldkind, Lauri. 2014. “E-Advocacy in Human Services: The Impact of Organizational Conditions and Characteristics on Electronic Advocacy Activities among Nonprofits.” Journal of Policy Practice 13 (4): 300–315.

Goldkind explores the organizational characteristics related to the use of electronic advocacy strategies and conducts a survey on nonprofit executives. She starts with a literature review on policy advocacy and electronic, internet-based interactive tools in the fields of electronic advocacy and nonprofit organizations. Goldkind then studies the barriers to advocacy practice, draws the conceptual framework, and provides her hypotheses, in which she claims that organizations use electronic technologies because their organizational cultures are conducive to them. The author uses two demographic characteristics (organizational age and budget size) in her study. She concludes that organizational success depends on the capacities of organizations to invest in social media tools while being attentive to policy advocacy.

Kline, Jesse. 2013. “Why Canada has Third World Access to the Internet.” National Post, September 24, 2013.

Kline addresses the internet problem that Canada is facing, namely that it pays some of the highest rates for internet access among countries in the developed world. The author argues that this is a result of the lack of competition in the Canadian marketplace. Existing companies have created a monopoly, and Canada has a relatively small population that is widely dispersed across the country, making investment costly. Kline argues that in order to remediate this problem, the Canadian government ought to allow new competitors an easier entry by cancelling the foreign ownership restrictions currently held for Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and wireless carriers in order to create a more profitable opportunity to invest in Canada. Another solution Kline proposes is to have municipalities support building network infrastructure by removing current bureaucratic impediments to place cable in new houses, as well as banishing restrictions on where wireless towers can be built. The author concludes that this problem requires immediate attention.

Langman, Lauren. 2005. “From Virtual Public Spheres to Global Justice: A Critical Theory of Internetworked Social Movements.” Sociology Theory 23 (1): 42–74.

Langman claims that new types of Internet-based social movements and cyber activism require new kinds of theorizations. She explains various perspectives on social movements, including resource mobilization, framing and meaning construction, political process, new social movements, and the Frankfurt School. Langman also explores domination and ideology, as well as the adverse consequences of globalization, and moves toward a critical theory of internetworked social movements (ISMs). The author studies electronic media and “Virtual Public Spheres,” collective identities and social movements, internetworked social movements, alternative media (blogs, global civil societies, alternative professional networks, and radical geeks), global justice, global forums, anti-war movements (global justice, the World Social Forum movement, anti-war mobilization), and the move from virtual networks to cyberactivism. She concludes that the legacy of critical theory offers a comprehensive framework to chart new forms of social mobilizations and to inspire participation in the struggle for global justice.

**Milberry, Kate. 2006. “Reconstructing the Internet: How Social Justice Activists Contest Technical Design in Cyberspace.” Media Culture Journal 9 (1): n.p.

Milberry explores how activists have shaped the internet to fit technical needs and movement goals. She begins by exploring geeks and global justice, namely how tech activism joins the free software ethos and concerns for social justice, explaining that the novelty of tech activism is in the incorporation of democratic goals of the global justice movement (GJM) into the technology itself. Milberry elaborates on the concept of politicizing technology, arguing that tech activists in global justice return to computer technology development for their political action. She addresses movements such as Indymedia and Free Software, and Wild Wild Wikis. The author concludes that since the Internet is socially constructed, users are able to contribute to its development by shaping its future direction, allowing it to bridge the gap between geek and activist communities, and supporting a digital infrastructure for progressive worldwide activism.

Paliwala, Abdul. 2007. “Free Culture, Global Commons and Social Justice in Information Technology Diffusion.” Law, Social Justice and Global Development Journal. 1. n.p.

Paliwala explores the role of digital intellectual property rights in the realm of the digital divide between developing countries of the Global South. He starts by exploring the intellectual property rights in information technology at the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The author also studies the nature of change in production relations in the Age of Information, and the importance of Free and Open Source Software and Content (FOSS-C) movements. Paliwala then investigates the potential for digital social justice with regards to the application of arguments based on changed production and property relations in the Global South, the way digital divides are affected by property and piracy issues, and the reformist arguments based on the Right to Development. He concludes that millennial ideologies of new modes of productions are to be cautiously treated as they form hidden modes of domination.


  • Castelli, Donatella, Simon J.E. Taylor, and Franco Zoppi. 2010. “Open Knowledge on E-Infrastructure: The BELIEF Project Digital Library.” IST-Africa, 2010, 1–15.
  • Goldkind, Lauri. 2014. “E-Advocacy in Human Services: The Impact of Organizational Conditions and Characteristics on Electronic Advocacy Activities among Nonprofits.” Journal of Policy Practice 13 (4): 300–315.
  • Paliwala, Abdul. 2007. “Free Culture, Global Commons and Social Justice in Information Technology Diffusion.” Law, Social Justice and Global Development Journal 1. n.p.
Open Social Scholarship Annotated Bibliography
 ← Prototyping Social Justice and Open Knowledge Facilitated by Technology Action and Activism →