New Media & Society

Author: Paško Bilić

Title of article: Searching for a centre that holds’ in the network society: Social construction of knowledge on, and with, English Wikipedia

Journal: New Media & Society

Publisher: SAGE

Year: 2014

ISSN 1461-4448

Online ISSN 1461-7315

The communication model of the network society is not horizontal and flat. Different mediated constructions and centreing performances on new media platforms work towards integrating the symbolic environment, and towards representing the imagined mediated centres. Wikipedia aspires to become ‘the sum of all human knowledge’. Despite being built on anonymous contributions its underlying dynamic is a process of empirically traceable social construction of knowledge. A case study of English Wikipedia’s In the news (ITN) section will be presented. Through flexible mediated content production, based on the routinization of the process in policies and guidelines, Wikipedia constructs social centres through consensus-driven media rituals, based on the neutral point of view. Wikipedia has blurred the border between different types of knowledge in the process of ‘searching for a centre that holds’. It constantly negotiates the border between its internal collaboration and its external symbolic environment.

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