Christian Pentzold

Zooming in on the everyday practices of mutual observation, the strategies of Wikipedia authors to watch at and watch over each other through an archive of wiki-based activities are examined on the ground of a three-year ethnographic study among English- and German-language contributors. For one, the technologically enabled gaze on collaborative activities is examined as a form of editorial surveillance. Regarding the status of the knowledge circulated in such environment, the routines of monitoring are then studied for the exploitation of operational cognizance and nescience. Finally, accounting for the reciprocal information gathering by users about their peers invites to redraft, once again, concepts of panopticism commonly mobilized to describe modern societies of control and discipline.

The project was supported through the 8th German-Israeli Frontiers of Humanities (GISFOH) Symposium “Witnessing and Knowing: Challenging Re/Sources of Knowledge” to which I have been generously invited by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (AvH) and the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities (IASH). There, I worked together with, among others, Amit Pinchevski and Keren Tenenboim-Weinblatt from Hebrew University Jerusalem. More about the programme can be found here