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Letters and Scientific Communities

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Author Info

  • Metiu, Anca

    ()
    (ESSEC Business School)

  • Fayard, Anne-Laure

    ()
    (Polytechnic Institute of New York University)

Abstract

We enter the debate about the possibility of collaboration and of rich exchanges among physically distant individuals by offering a literacy perspective on communication to show how the dimensions of writing enable the development of scientific communities. We illustrate this perspective with an analysis of the correspondences of one philosopher and one scientist – Descartes and Emilie du Chatelet, as well as with a description of one of the most prominent communities of scientists and philosophers in Europe, the Republic of Letters. Our findings show that writing is essential for the expression and exchange of ideas, abstractions, complex thoughts, demonstrations, arguments – in sum, for the entire scientific enterprise. We discuss the implications of the literacy perspective and of our findings for the current understanding of online intellectual communities.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by ESSEC Research Center, ESSEC Business School in its series ESSEC Working Papers with number DR 08016.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ebg:essewp:dr-08016

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Postal: ESSEC Research Center, BP 105, 95021 Cergy, France
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Web page: http://www.essec.edu/
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Related research

Keywords: Orality and Literacy; Scientific Communities; Online Communities; Letters; Organizational Communication;

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References

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  1. Richard L. Daft & Robert H. Lengel, 1986. "Organizational Information Requirements, Media Richness and Structural Design," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 32(5), pages 554-571, May.
  2. Bruce Kogut & Anca Metiu, 2001. "Open-Source Software Development and Distributed Innovation," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 17(2), pages 248-264, Summer.
  3. Metiu, Anca & Obodaru, Otilia, 2008. "Women's Professional Identity Formation in the Free/Open Source Software Community," ESSEC Working Papers DR 08009, ESSEC Research Center, ESSEC Business School.
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