Understanding Common Sense Themes of Intellectual and Creative Work: the Social Representation of Intellectual Property
This thesis examines the construction of Intellectual Property discourses using the social Psychological theoretical framework of Social Representations theory (Moscovici, 1984), and explores the various themes which emerge around the treatment of knowledge, ideas and creative work from both historical and contemporary perspectives. The first two chapters introduce Social Representations theory and the methodology of Thematic Analysis. Study one presents a historical account and literature review on the general themes of knowledge, intellectual and creative endeavours, and how various cultures and social powers have approached these concepts throughout history. It includes an overview of current technological and social changes around the same themes, the challenges these changes may have on existing social representations, and the groups that have vested interests in particular representations. The idea that existing dominant representations cannot adequately incorporate new representations arising from users and adopters utilising the new medium of the 'network' as a social-cultural tool is also introduced. Study two examines similar topics through analysis of public submissions to the New Zealand Patent act review. In this study, individual submissions are analysed in detail using a thematic analysis-like process, incorporating this into a Social representations framework designed to extend and test the representations observed in study one. Evidence of a dominant industrial representation involving market economic treatment of knowledge centred on a physical resource conceptual anchor was observed. Conflicting social representations held by other groups included representations of a collectivist common good centred on innovation and rights themes. Evidence that significant re-representation of the property conception away from a physical good anchor by various groups was found. Social, cultural, and economic consequences of these competing representations effect on societies are considered.