Imagine a world

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This page is the summary of a PhD thesis on the Wikimedia movement written on French Wikiversity.

You can read its automatic translation in many languages from this page, and discuss or comment it on this talk page (Don't use the French talk page automatically translated, it doesn't work !)

Interview by Frederick FN Noronha about the thesis in 16th of September

PhD Student : Lionel Scheepmans

Discipline : Social and political Science

Promoter : Olivier Servais.

Accompanying board : Pierre-Joseph Laurent, Christophe Lazaro, Emmanuel Wathelet.

Institution : Laboratory of Prospective Anthropology / Institute of for the Analysis of Change in Contemporary and Historical Societies (LAAP/IACCHOS), Université catholique de Louvain.

Jury :

Podcast : Betveen the Brackets

Pr. Jacinthe Mazzocchetti (UCLouvain LAAP).

Pr. Olivier Servais (UCLouvain ESPO).

Pr. Vincent Berry (Université Paris Sorbonne)

Pr. Alexandre Hoquet (Université de Lorraine)

Pr. Suzanne Kieffer (UCLouvain COMU)

Pr. Pierre-Joseph Laurent (UCLouvain LAAP)


In the shadow of the Wikipedia project, a virtually unknown social movement called Wikimedia has been developing for just over twenty-one years. Its vision of the future is "a world in which every human being can freely take part in the sharing of all knowledge". Responsible for the Wikipedia project, but also for nearly a thousand websites, this movement brings together several hundred groups and associations around the world. It is also the only non-profit actor in the top 50 most visited websites in the world. In this sense, it appears today as the most visible manifestation of a counter-culture inherited from the pioneers of the Net and the free software movement, which nowadays opposes the commodification of the world by a handful of political and economic actors.

In order to understand this movement, this research is part of a prospective anthropology that favours long-term participant observation, the laborious excavation of Web space and the production of detailed ethnographic analyses. On reading it, one discovers the complexity of an organisation that appeared within the digital ecumene and then developed offline. This organisation ensures a completely original economic, technical, political and epistemic management of life together, which was gradually put in place by millions of actors confronted with the tensions arising from the opposition between voluntary work and salaried employment, sharing and donations, freedom and control, consensus and elections, equality and hierarchy. An organisation so original, in fact, that it comes to question a set of well-established dogmas that prevent us from imagining the world freely.

Translated with (free version)

(Translated with the help of free and

A report of an exploratory phase in Ghana from 1st to 20th September 2017 is also available on en.wikiversity