What peer-to-peer networks teach us about institutional service

Donald Carl Unger, Purdue University


This dissertation addresses how contemporary calls for reform to American public universities depict institutional service in contradictory ways. These contradictions stem from arguments that pose liberal and practical education against each other. To work past this bifurcation, I draw from two areas of scholarship, namely feminist care ethics and peer-to-peer technology design, to reconceptualize service as a relational ethic. Then, I develop a heuristic with which to consider how service creates, navigates, and shapes relationships within and across institutions as well as among academic and nonacademic communities. This heuristic serves two goals, to foster a conversation about institutional service that embraces ethical, humanistic practices and technological innovation, and to provide an analytical tool to guide service. I conclude with two examples of how I applied this heuristic in my work.




Sullivan, Purdue University.

Subject Area


Off-Campus Purdue Users:
To access this dissertation, please log in to our
proxy server