Thursday, July 19, 2007

Cultural Software

Software has been a powerful metaphor to describe the platforms and positions of France's Socialist party for several years now. As early as 2002, in articles like "Refonte du logiciel socialiste? Libre ou propriƩtaire?", commentators were noting the prevalence of the term "software" in the political discourse of the left. To "update software" was also important in 2005, when both loyalists and critics were looking ahead to the present, and the recently concluded national elections and this month's party congress. The phrase continues to be part of the cultural conversation this week, as the party's losses and needs to regroup are assessed.

Of course, as advocates for open source technologies, France's socialists have also been interested in software on a literal level, but it sounds like someone in the City of Light must have read J.M. Balkin's classic study of ideology, Cultural Software, which is now available under a Creative Commons license.

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