Philosophy in the Contemporary World 18 (1):11-18 (2011)
The Wiki represents a legitimate form of literature that requires a deep rethinking of how texts are produced and consumed. In order to understand and evaluate the Wiki, Barthes' distinction between Text and Work, and the critique of authorship found in the writings of both Barthes and Foucault are employed. The Wiki is a genre of literature, which like Barthes' concept of the Text, is without identifiable authorship, and its production is directly related to semantic conventions governing the text as a system of signs. The authority of the Wiki is a function of its survival in an agonistic environment that extends from outright vandalism to reasoned discourse. Barthes concept of play, the pleasure of the text, the role of the reader, and Foucault's analysis of the hermeneutic function of authorship provide a theoretical basis for critiquing new forms of digital literature, which, like the Wiki, are disseminated across computer networks
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