Network Sovereignty Project Blog

Network Sovereignty, is a new research blog supported by a National Science Foundation grant. It is edited by PIs Professor Lisa Parks at MIT and Professor Ramesh Srinivasan at UCLA. The blog is inspired by path-breaking research by Saskia Sassen (2000), Wendy Chun (2008), Marisa Duerte (2017), and others, and explores the extent to which communities and people feel empowered and/or controlled by network infrastructures. How are local communities situated in relation to network facilities or endpoints? Who owns and operates the network facilities in communities? Who in the community knows how network facilities work? What local knowledges/ontologies emerge in relation to network infrastructures? How are these infrastructures embedded in everyday life? We are especially interested in studying the sociotechnical relations of low-income, rural communities.

The goal of the Network Sovereignty blog is to spotlight and interlink a community of researchers who are studying network infrastructures (internet, mobile phones, video streaming, satellites, data centers, etc.) and to raise awareness about their research projects and facilitate connections between them. Blog posts can be written in multiple styles: they can offer a general overview of a research project; a site specific or field-based description and analysis; or a discussion of critical questions or issues that have come up in the process of conducting research. We also encourage illustrations, and will also consider posting short videos. The main requirement is that the blog post comment in some way on network infrastructures as they relate to issues of knowledge/power, community empowerment/control, social justice, human rights, migrancy, indigeneity, exclusion, or disenfranchisement.

If you are interested in contributing, please contact Lisa Parks at lparks@mit.edu or Ramesh Srinivasan at ramesh@rameshsrinivasan.org.

Read updates from the Network Sovereignty Blog:

Blackfeet Indian Reservation

Broadband development has been challenging on US Indian reservations due to topography, poor roads, and weather conditions. In response to these conditions, the Blackfeet tribal council has supported local broadband initiatives and information technology programs, educating tribal members about networked computing and preparing them to become stakeholders of tribal telecommunications


Mexico

In response to a federal telecommunications system that has failed to reach nearly 50,000 diverse communities in Mexico, mostly of indigenous descent, the non-governmental organization Rhizomatica has facilitated the development of 21 concurrent mobile telephone networks designed, developed, and owned by Oaxacan communities across the rural Sierra Juarez Norte mountain region. The project represents the largest community-owned federated mobile network in the world.


Tanzania

The Serengeti Broadband Network (SBN) began in 2007 to establish broadband connectivity across 15 villages in one of Tanzania’s remote interior regions. SBN project leaders have encouraged local authorities to invest in and assume ownership over network facilities.

 


This project is funded with the support of the National Science Foundation.