The Power of Wikipedia Legitimacy and Territorial Control, Wikipedia Academy 2012

Inserito da iopensa il Ven, 2012-06-29 09:00

Conference at Wikipedia Academy. The Power of Wikipedia Legitimacy and Territorial Control, Wikipedia Academy, Berlin, 29/06/2012.
Full paper

A research article focused on the power of Wikipedia and the issues of legitimacy and territorial control related to it. At the moment systems of authority have been observed in the online community; there are essays on Wikimedia Foundation and on the geography of Wikipedia and its contributors. The geopolitical approach of Wikipedia is not currently a research topic, but it is at the centre of discussions, policies, and documents produced by Wikimedia Foundation and the Wikimedia chapters. The aim of this article is to start filling this gap, and to highlight the power of Wikipedia and the issues of legitimacy and territorial control by specifically referring to Africa. It looks at Wikipedia from a geopolitical perspective and it is based on the experience of the projects WikiAfrica (2006-2012) and Share Your Knowledge (2011-2012), on anthropological studies on identity, esotism, otherness, eurocentrism and territory, and on artworks1. What appears is that Wikipedia has the power of a nation and it ignores half a century of studies and debates about identity, esotism, otherness, eurocentrism and territory. Wikipedia can speak with governments and negotiate with them; speaking on behalf of Wikipedia means to speak with the power of a nation. But as post-independence and colonial nations, today most powerful encyclopedia and knowledge distributing system acts in the same way as post- independence and colonial nations did: it focuses its geopolitical approach on nation building (based on languages, monuments and schoolbooks) and it nourishes nationalist approaches. Wikipedia nationalism is reinforced by the growing number of institutions interested in collaborating with Wikipedia (the so-called GLAMs), which are managed on a territorial basis.

Keywords: Wikipedia, Africa, GLAMs, offline power, legitimacy, control, geography, nationalism, WikiAfrica, Share Your Knowledge