The Ethics of Sharing

Call for Papers for Vol. 15 - July 2011

  • Deadline for extended abstracts: January 31, 2011
  • Notification of acceptance to authors: February 8, 2011
  • Deadline for full articles: April 30, 2011
  • Publication: July, 2011

Sharing has emerged as one of the core cultural and ethical values native to the networked environment. It is built both into the technical protocols that make up the Internet, and holds together distributed, mediated communities and
organizations (even if they try to limit sharing to members inside the organizations).

In information ethics, sharing has implicitly been discussed in terms of privacy, intellectual property, secrecy, security and freedom of speech, which together define the social character of the information environment. But recent developments such as WikiLeaks have shown that there is a need to go beyond discussing the legitimacy of access or restrictions. We need to address the motivations and ethical positions that compel people to share information, even at considerable risk to themselves. Has sharing of information a special virtue of the information society? How are choices of sharing or withholding information justified? Is sharing subversive of the new global information regime, or an integral aspect of it?

This issue of IRIE brings together contributions towards an ethics of sharing that embeds the technological potentialities in lived social experience. In our understanding, information ethics "deals with ethical questions in the field of digital production and reproduction of phenomena and processes such as the exchange, combination and use of information."

The task is both descriptive – helping us understand the contemporary complexities of the ethics of sharing as it emerges from practices across a wide range social and cultural contexts – as well as normative – helping us to address blind-spots and clarifying possible ethical frameworks to address unresolved issues.

We seeks submission that might address, without being limited to, issues such as

  • Sharing of information of different kinds, such technical, social and cultural information
  • Sharing of resources, such as bandwidth and processing power
  • Ethics of sharing across different cultures
  • Values that facilitate sharing
  • Ethics of Sharing in historical perspectives
  • Values emerging from environments characterized by pervasive sharing
  • Subjectivities of sharing
  • Shifting boundaries between the personal/common
  • Similarities and differences between the sharing of material and of information resources
  • Ethical limits of sharing, in regard to other values
  • Ethical economies of sharing
  • Economies of sharing vs. economies of exchange
  • Dangers of sharing

We aim at addressing this field from a cross-disciplinary and cross cultural perspective, thus we encourage submission from wide range of research disciplines and from Western and non-Western perspectives.

Guest Editors

Dr. Felix Stalder
Zürich University of the Arts
Research project "Media Activism" at the University of

Dr. Wolfgang Sützl
Research Project "Media Activism" at the University of

Abstracts and Submissions

Potential authors are requested to provide an extended abstract (max. 1,000 words) by January 31, 2011. Abstracts may be submitted in the native language of the author though an English translation of this abstract must be included if the chosen language is not English. IRIE will publish articles in English, French, German, Portuguese or Spanish. The author(s) of contributions in French, Portuguese, or Spanish must nominate at least two potential peer reviewers.

Abstracts will be evaluated by the guest editors. The authors will be informed of acceptance or rejection by February 8, 2011.

Deadline for the final article (usually ca. 3,000 words or 20,000 characters including blanks) is April 30, 2011. All submissions will be subject to peer review. Therefore the acceptance of an extended abstract does not imply the
publication of the final text by July, 2011, unless the article has passed the peer review.

All submissions should be sent by email with ‘IRIE Submission’ in the header to: