Network Sovereignty Blog

8 posts

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.

Networks, Knowledge, and Power in U.S. Public Libraries

Written by Colin Rhinesmith, Assistant Professor in the Simmons University School of Library and Information Science In many communities across the United States, particularly in rural areas, the public library is often the only place where people can gain access to the Internet.1 It is also true that in many […]

Teaching Computer Science at the Blackfeet Community College in Browning, Montana

Blog post by Tara Hite, instructor of computing and information technology at Blackfeet Community College. In August 2018 I started a full-time position at Blackfeet Community College (BCC) in Browning, Montana as the computer science and information technology instructor. Upon starting this role, it was made very clear to me that the computer […]

Red Hook WIFI: From Mesh Networking to Social Networking

Written by Aditi Mehta, Assistant Professor of Urban Studies at the University of Toronto I am broadly interested in how local community-run wifi networks can affect the culture of a neighborhood, and help build social ties and social cohesion, particularly among diverse residents who do not normally interact. I have […]

Are Rural Data Center Jobs “Good” Jobs?

Written by Jenna Burrell, Associate Professor in the School of Information at UC Berkeley. In Shoshanna Zuboff’s 1988 classic, In the Age of the Smart Machine: The Future of Work and Power, she documents the impact of computerization in industrial workplaces on the bodies of workers. Workers, she found, had an ambivalent attitude toward automation. […]

Day Laborers’ Digital Archive, Mobile Phone Use, and Self-Empowerment

Written by Carlos Jimenez, Assistant Professor in the Department of Media, Film, and Journalism at the University of Denver. Day laborers stand on street corners, at hardware stores, or other hidden areas in cities across the world and they are the basis of what scholars now call the “gig-economy.” The gig-economy, […]

Animal Network Sovereignty

Animal Network Sovereignty Adam Fish Lately, when I have the pleasure of walking in the stacks of a regal, well-stocked, old library, and am in a satirical mood, I imagine I am an alien roaming the halls of some temple of speciesism. I roll my eyes and mutter, “wow, another […]