Towards a New Policy Making?

 Beyond the Internet as a tool ” hammer ” – tool of the old politics: Towards a New Policy Making?


Funded by: Escola d’Administració Pública de Catalunya

Abstract: In the context of a new era characterized by overlapping political, economic and ecological crises, traditionals visions of the Internet as a “remedy” or new “tool” that would unite and strengthen public policy processes are extremely limited. This study starts from a different perspective. From our point of view, what is important is to to understand in which degree the extension of the everyday use of ICT is reshaping our way of life in general, and in particular, our way of understanding of politics and public management. We are particularly interested in see how the adoption of new technologies affects aspects such as the cycles of public policy, the emergence of new players, the transformation in political interaction and the distribution of power between the various agents .

The growing importance of the information economy, the growing importance of cognitive ability and the fast technological change have led to the transformation of society into a different networked society where knowledge plays a more central . But changes in the use, exploitation, production and distribution of information and knowledge have produced an important conflict between different visions on how to take advantage of new these opportunities. Visions and claims of free information and digital assets commons are contrasted with visions and claims of private ownership and use of private information. In this context of conflict over the use and management of information, knowledge and culture, emerges the Free Culture Movement and for the digital commons (FCM).

The research will address, first, the policy network around free culture and digital commons context of Catalonia – from analysing the size , composition, logic and organizational strategies to influence policy making from policy network around free culture and digital commons. Secondly, the relationship between the FCM and 15M – analysing the role played by the first in the emergence and organizational logic of 15M, and also how the change in the political scene provoked by 15M has open new possibilities of mobilization for the FCM Finally, an analysis will be made of the similarities and differences in these two contemporary social movements, as two cases which would allow us to extract the characteristics of social mobilization that are emerging from the possibilities opened by the ICT .

The methodology is based on the building of indicators of free culture practices, e-questionnaires to 145 cases of FCM, qualitative analysis based on extensive examinations of key documents of the FCM, 24 interviews and finally participant observation .

From the analysis, we can distinguish, within the FCM, different strategic visions. The first one emphasizes the performative aspect of the movement and its capacity to change the productive model in base of the action and implementation process itself. The second, in contrast, emphasizes the process of influencing in the public awareness and generating social mobilization in order to impact on political institutions. Note that the FCM has played an important role in the mobilization of 15M, but this fact has tensioned the two perspectives above. Overall, the relationship between FCM and 15M questions the current models from different perspectives: first, by intervening in a new area of public policy and questioning the current process of formulating policies, and second by requiring a new model of interaction between political institutions and a civil society that gains in importance , autonomy and power as a provider and manager of resources are presented as public.

Team: Joan Subirats Research and Mayo Fuster Morell


Fuster Morell, M. (2012). Composition of 15M Mobilization in Spain: Free Culture Movement a layer of 15M ecosystem movement. ‘Occupy’ special edition. Social Movement Studies,Volume 11, Issue 3-4.

Fuster Morell, M. & Subirats, J. (2012). Més enllà d’Internet com a eina “martell” – eina de la vella política: Cap un nou Policy Making?. Els casos del Moviment de Cultura Lliure i pel Procomú Digital i el 15M a Catalunya (Beyond the Internet as a tool “hammer” – tool of the old politics: Towards a New Policy Making?. Cases the Free Culture Movement and the digital commons and 15M in Catalonia). Research report. Institute de Govern i Politiques Publiques (UAB) per l’Escola d’Administracio Publica de Catalunya. (139 pages). Retrieved from

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