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Vibrant: Virtual Brazilian Anthropology

versão On-line ISSN 1809-4341


RIBEIRO, Gustavo Lins. What's in a copy?. Vibrant, Virtual Braz. Anthr. [online]. 2013, vol.10, n.1, pp.20-39. ISSN 1809-4341.

I will answer the question "What's in a copy?" by considering three sets of related issues: the importance of copies in academia; in cultural life; and in the economic world. In academia the current capability of making copies is challenging pedagogical practices and the trust of its members, plagiarism being the most immediate problem. The notion of authorship is also undergoing changes provoked by a proliferation of authors and new possibilities opened up by cyberspace. In cultural life, imitation and mimesis have long been fundamental engines of socialization. Our enhanced capacity of copying problematizes, with new intensity, the relationships between homogeneity and heterogeneity, between the genuine and the spurious. In the economic world, the digital era is threatening some of the fundamental tenets of capitalism, especially of its variant called the "knowledge society", regarding the control of intellectual property rights. The gap between normativity and social practices is widening. The many dilemmas and tensions identified in the text are understood as symptoms of two major characteristics of the current times: hyperfetishism and hyperanimism.

Palavras-chave : copy; digital era; knowledge society; imitation; plagiarism; fetishism; animism; property rights.

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