Artifice and Agency

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Final Exam: Part One

Here, in alphabetical order, are twenty-two terms that have figured centrally in various ways in a number of the texts we have read over the course of this term.

1. accountability
2. celebrity
3. commons
4. democracy
5. elite
6. end-to-end principle (e2e)
7. free software
8. linking
9. mass culture
10. media
11. objectivity
12. open source
13. peer to peer (p2p)
14. popular
15. privacy
16. private property
17. professional
18. public
19. public good
20. representative
21. secrecy
22. transparency

Organize the terms in this list into three separate, conceptually connected, sets. You can use any criteria that seems useful to you to organize these sets. The only rule is that no resulting set can contain fewer than three terms. You can omit one, but only one, of the twenty-two terms from your exam altogether.

Once you have organized your three sets, define each of the terms in each set in your own words. Ideally, your definitions should be relatively short and as clear as possible. It should be clear from your definitions why each of the terms in each of the three sets are conceptually connected to each other, but it is also crucial that no terms within a set are treated as synomymous, and that your definitions distinguish terms from one another (even if the resulting distinctions are sometimes matters of nuance).

Once you have defined all these terms, provide a short quotation (feel free to edit and prune to keep your chosen citations properly pithy) from one of the texts we have read this term to accompany your definition. The quotation you choose can be a definition you found helpful in crafting your own definition, it can be an example or illustration you found especially clarifying, it can a matter of contextualization, framing, or history that you found illuminating, it can even be something you disagreed with so strongly it helped you understand better what you really think yourself.

Obviously, there are indefinitely many different ways of organizing these terminological sets, defining these terms, distinguishing them from one another, and connecting them up to the texts we have read. What matters for this first part of the exam is that you follow the rules of the exercise, not that you arrive at some single "right answer" you may think I have in mind. It's, like, you know, the journey and not the destination, man.


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