Sara Schoonmaker

Professor, Soc & Anthropology
Soc & Anthropology


Bekins Hall
P: 909.748.8712

Office: Soc and Anthropology, Bekins Hall #107

Academic Interests and Areas of Expertise

  • Prospects for Free Software to contribute to developing alternative new forms of globalization from below

  • Theorizing the role of digital technologies and digital cultures in contemporary capitalism

  • Alternatives to the dominant form of neoliberal globalization and consumer culture

Current Research

Sara is currently researching ways that Free Software contributes to developing two alternative forms of globalization from below. The first form develops through firms' activities in the Free Software market. The second arises as communities, associations and governments promote Free Software as a public good that fosters social justice. She views both of these alternative forms as grounded in the nature of Free Software as a viral form of property that transforms the dominance of private property in contemporary capitalisms. Through interviews, participant observation and archival work, Sara explores the roles of free software associations, companies and communities, as well as national and local governments, in developing Free Software. She is writing a book and scholarly articles analyzing how these Free Software proponents developed a community form of property that requires users and developers to allow access to the source code and thus to participate in a software-sharing community. As property, Free Software is globally accessible, forming an infrastructure for engaging in business, education, entertainment and more through computers and the Internet. Somewhat paradoxically, however, this technology is developed and implemented through communities grounded in national contexts, each with its own political, economic, cultural and discursive conditions for access to and further development of free software. By exploring these conditions in a global, comparative context, Sara's research thus speaks to the fundamental relationship between technological development and the complex processes that shape it in the global political economy.

Courses Offered at Redlands

  • Development and Change in the Americas

  • Consumers and Consumption

  • Consume the Local / Hack the Global

  • Norms, Liberation, and Danger

  • Children and Youth

  • Contemporary Social Theory

  • Survey Research Methods

Degrees Held

  • Ph.D. Sociology, Boston College 1990

  • B.A. Latin American Studies, Earlham College 1981

Previous Teaching Experience

  • Assistant Professor. Colgate University, 1989-1994

  • Visiting Instructor. Hamilton College, 1988-1989

Professional Experience

Consultant. United Nations Centre on Transnational Corporations, 1985

Awards and Grants Received

  • University of Redlands Faculty Research Grant, 2011 ($2,000)

  • University of Redlands Faculty Research Grant, 2010 ($1,500)

  • University of Redlands Faculty Research Grant, 2006 ($3,000)

  • University of Redlands Faculty Research Grant, 2002 ($1,250)

  • University of Redlands Faculty Research Grant, 2001 ($3,000)

Publications, Presentations and Panels

2013. Hacking the Global: Making (and Unmaking) Markets through Free Software. Santa Clara University.

2012. "Hacking the Global: Constructing Markets and Commons through Free Software." Information, Communication and Society 15 (4), pp. 502-518.

2012. "Forking Digital Inclusion: The Development of LibreOffice and The Document Foundation." Presented at the International Sociological Association Meeting.

2009. Software Politics in Brazil: toward a political economy of digital inclusion. Information, Communication and Society 12 (4) 548-565.

2009. French Software Politics: The Freedom Discourse and Globalization from Below. Presented at the 104th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association.

2007. "Globalization from Below: Free Software and Alternatives to Neoliberalism." Development and Change 38 (6), 999-1020.

2006. "Piece of Cake: Children's Birthday Celebrations and Alternatives to Consumer Culture." Sociological Focus 30 (3), 217-234.

2005. "Shifting Strategies of Sovereignty: Brazil and the Politics of Globalization." In Philip McMichael and Fred Buttel (Ed.), New Directions in the Sociology of Global Development (pp.301-331). JAI Press.

2005. Confronting Global Capital through Trade Politics: Brazil's Emergent Internationalism. Invited talk at University of California, Riverside speaker series on Confronting Global Capital: The Challenges of Global Democracy.

2003. High-Tech Trade Wars: Brazilian Informatics and the Politics of Globalization." Invited talk at Latin American Studies Colloquium Series. University of California, Riverside, 2003.

2002. High-Tech Trade Wars: U.S.-Brazilian Conflicts in the Global Economy. University of Pittsburgh Press.

1995. "High-Tech Development Politics: New Strategies and Persistent Structures in Brazilian Informatics." The Sociological Quarterly 36 (2), 701-727.

1995. "Regulation Theory and the Politics of Global Restructuring." Current Perspectives in Social Theory, Vol. 15, 213-244.

1994. "Capitalism and the Code: A Critique of Baudrillard's Third Order Simulacrum." In Douglas Kellner (Ed.), Baudrillard: A Critical Reader (pp.168-188). Oxford, UK: Basil Blackwell.

Professional Affiliations

American Sociological Association
International Sociological Association