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Relational models by Alan Page Fiske (was: [ox-en] Re: Definition of peer production, the relational model of Fiske)

Hi Michel and all!

I'll full-quote because the original mail is some time ago.

2 months (63 days) ago Michael Bouwens wrote:
Stefan, since this often comes up in my contributions, and you said
you did not understand it yet, here is an excerpt on the relational
models by Alan Page Fiske

Thanks a lot. I love excerpts like this because they add clarity to
what people are talking about here.

"People use just four fundamental models for organizing most aspects
of sociality most of the time in all cultures . These models are
Communal Sharing, Authority Ranking, Equality Matching, and Market

If I try to say it in my terms these models reflect different ways to
organize OHA systems. They all define a certain culture for the
members of a social system.

Communal Sharing (CS) is a relationship in which people
treat some dyad or group as equivalent and undifferentiated with
respect to the social domain in question. Examples are people using
a commons (CS with respect to utilization of the particular
resource), people intensely in love (CS with respect to their social
selves), people who "ask not for whom the bell tolls, for it tolls
for thee" (CS with respect to shared suffering and common
well-being), or people who kill any member of an enemy group
indiscriminately in retaliation for an attack (CS with respect to
collective responsibility).

This is probably the model which fits best for Free Software (and
other Free Projects). However, I'm not sure whether the fact of
abundance of Free Software is really reflected well here.

In Authority Ranking (AR) people have asymmetric positions in a
linear hierarchy in which subordinates defer, respect, and (perhaps)
obey, while superiors take precedence and take pastoral
responsibility for subordinates. Examples are military hierarchies
(AR in decisions, control, and many other matters), ancestor worship
(AR in offerings of filial piety and expectations of protection and
enforcement of norms), monotheistic religious moralities (AR for the
definition of right and wrong by commandments or will of God),
social status systems such as class or ethnic rankings (AR with
respect to social value of identities), and rankings such as sports
team standings (AR with respect to prestige). AR relationships are
based on perceptions of legitimate asymmetries, not coercive power;
they are not inherently exploitative (although they may involve
power or cause harm).

In Equality Matching relationships people keep track of the balance
or difference among participants and know what would be required to
restore balance. Common manifestations are turn-taking, one-person
one-vote elections, equal share distributions, and vengeance based
on an-eye-for-an-eye, a-tooth-for-a-tooth. Examples include sports
and games (EM with respect to the rules, procedures, equipment and
terrain), baby-sitting coops (EM with respect to the exchange of
child care), and restitution in-kind (EM with respect to righting a

It seems to me that Equality Matching makes only sense in situation
where there is an unsatisfied need for something. In a society where
all needs are satisfied no balance needs to be kept. Do you agree?

Market Pricing relationships are oriented to socially meaningful
ratios or rates such as prices, wages, interest, rents, tithes, or
cost-benefit analyses. Money need not be the medium, and MP
relationships need not be selfish, competitive, maximizing, or
materialistic - any of the four models may exhibit any of these
features. MP relationships are not necessarily individualistic; a
family may be the CS or AR unit running a business that operates in
an MP mode with respect to other enterprises. Examples are property
that can be bought, sold, or treated as investment capital (land or
objects as MP), marriages organized contractually or implicitly in
terms of costs and benefits to the partners, prostitution (sex as
MP), bureaucratic cost-effectiveness standards (resource allocation
as MP), utilitarian judgments about the greatest good for the
greatest number, or standards of equity in judging entitlements in
proportion to contributions (two forms of morality as MP),
considerations of "spending time" efficiently, and estimates of
expected kill ratios (aggression as MP). "

Market Pricing to me looks like being in another category. I mean
Market Pricing makes only sense if one central aspect of Communal
Sharing exists: "a relationship in which people treat some dyad or
group as equivalent and undifferentiated with respect to the social
domain in question." Otherwise there is no market. Also Equality
Matching is a part of Market Pricing because keeping a balance is
always part of Market Pricing. Also different to the other models
Market Pricing does not refer to personal relations but to abstract
(market) relations.

The main question to me is when each of this models applies. In
particular: In a GPL society would there be a dominant model?

						Mit Freien Grüßen


Please note this message is written on an offline laptop
and send out in the evening of the day it is written. It
does not take any information into account which may have
reached my mailbox since yesterday evening.

Contact: projekt

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