Open but not public - Social membership in information society as a club good

Prepared for a workshop on Open Development organised by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) in Ottawa (Canada) in May 2010, the paper presents a comprehensive critique of the concept of openness, taken from the technology discourse. The paper critically analyses the elements of openness – greater access, participation and collaboration – citing empirical evidence from the field of Information and Communication Technology Development (ICTD) and Internet Governance.

The authors argue that the supplication of the idea of 'public' by that of openness will have serious exclusionary impact, and have implications for institutions of public sphere, democracy and development, as also on those of economic production and distribution.

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