Cultural Peer Production in Times of Crisis

Autores UPV
Revista The International Journal of Technology Knowledge and Society


The current crisis has called into question the validity of the two main logics that have dominated cultural production in recent years, that is the capitalist market and the welfare state. According to the first one, cultural production is considered as a mere object of consumption controlled exclusively by the law of supply and demand. This logic has gone into crisis since the power of consumption of many citizens has decreased, therefore cultural offerings have been reduced. As an alternative to this private logic of cultural production, the state logic has intended to enhance the number of cultural producers by means of different subsidies. However, over the last five years we have witnessed how different Western European States have dramatically reduced the budgetary allocations for culture. The main result of this crisis is the fact that cultural production has been left in the hands of big private companies whose economic power enables them to monopolize it, thus reducing its plurality and diversity dangerously. As an alternative to this situation, new proposals emerge with the aim to democratize cultural production without depending on the rules established by the liberal market or the State¿s subsidies. These proposals are a consequence of the development of peer-to-peer (P2P) communication technologies. The convergence of free web platforms and free software that allow users to share their own resources and to have access to materials produced by others have changed the field of traditional production. The emergence of peer-to-peer collaborative projects forces us to question the traditional production model. In the following text we will tackle in a theoretical way how the P2P production model is proposed as the best alternative to face the crisis in the contemporary cultural panorama. This theoretical approach will be accompanied by the description of some P2P projects that have been developed in the fields of art, cinema, photography or theatre.