A few words on Aaron Swartz, applied sociologist

On Aaron Swartz’s twitter page is the brief description:

Applied sociologist

Other people know him personally. I don’t. I read his blog, and knew of him. The fact he considered his intellectual persona to be “applied sociologist” helped me connect with his writings, and to connect with other peoples’ writings about his political activities. It is as a fellow self-described sociologist that I feel compelled to write upon his death.

Unlike Swartz, or at least unlike my reading of Swartz, I am a strong proponent of intellectual property rights. However, it is difficult to criticize Swartz’s actions in the jstor case. For empirical reasons. By which I mean: The future of sociology publishing is on the internet. Larger, more responsive audiences await sociology on the web. So, theoretically, Swartz was wrong. Intellectual property rights matter — they are the current and future basis of not only the internet, but much of the economics of advanced capitalism itself. These rights ought to be taken seriously.

But, empirically speaking, the applied sociologist was right: because of the internet, the future accessibility of top-level knowledge will, in fact, be closer to Swartz’s vision than it will be to anything resembling even the current, much advanced condition of information availability.

Swartz’s sociology will be proven valid, in short time.

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This entry was posted in advanced capitalism, intangible assets, intellectual property, Media and knowledge, political sociology, sociology, sociology of business, the database. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to A few words on Aaron Swartz, applied sociologist

  1. Pingback: Tom Medvetz on “blogging fast and slow” | price of data

  2. Pingback: better social design: the future of sociology publishing is open-access and on the internet | price of data

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