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

  • Andreas Roos Lund University, Department of Human Geography and the Human Ecology Division
  • Vasilis Kostakis Tallinn University of Technology, Tallinn, Estonia
  • Christos Giotitsas University of Leicester, Leicester, United Kingdom
Keywords: Commons based peer production, peer-to-peer, political ecology, ICTs, materiality, immateriality, transition, sustainability, digital commons


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.
Special section: The Materiality of the Immaterial: ICTs and the Digital Commons