Introduction: The Materiality of the Immaterial: ICTs and the Digital Commons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Today, two great signs of change are occurring. On the one hand, the capitalist world economy is putting tremendous pressure on the earth’s biosphere and bringing an onslaught of destruction to immediate environments and vulnerable people worldwide. On the other hand, the rise of new and progressive social-economic foundations is the result of an unprecedented increase of information and communication technologies (ICTs). Therefore it is arguably more crucial than ever to understand how social, economic and ecological foundations of the internet and ICT infrastructures are interwoven. What are we – as scholars, activists and citizens - to make of ICTs that seem to emerge from an economic and social system based upon ecological destruction and social oppression, while at the same time engaging millions of people in the proliferation of information, knowledge and active democratic collaboration? This special issue investigates how we can begin to understand this problem, and how we can hope to balance the perils and promises of ICTs in order to make way for a just and sustainable paradigm.


External organisations
  • University of Leicester
  • P2P Lab
  • Tallinn University of Technology
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
  • Environmental Sciences
  • Information Systems, Social aspects


  • Commons based peer production, peer-to-peer, political ecology, ICTs, materiality, immateriality, transition, sustainability, digital commons
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-50
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Feb 17
Publication categoryResearch

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