Network Sovereignty Blog

12 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.

Community Networking for Healing and Power in Central Appalachia

Published on November 11th, 2019Written By Greta Byrum and Ever Bussey Kopper Glo, the coal mining company that has ruled the economy of the Clear Fork Valley of Eastern Tennessee for the last sixty years, claims a legacy of environmental stewardship and community involvement. Yet its stock in trade is […]

Electronic parts and the assemblage of “informal” infrastructures

Published on November 6th, 2019Written by Fabian Prieto-Ñañez. Postdoctoral Associate in the Department of Science, Technology and Society at Virginia Tech. On March 28, 2019, the community television station CABLECIMA TV1  moved from their original site to a new house in the San Luis neighborhood in Bogota, Colombia. Big satellite dishes, […]

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

Published on October 9th, 2019Written 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 […]

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

Published on September 27th, 2019Written 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 […]

Red Hook WIFI: From Mesh Networking to Social Networking

Published on September 12th, 2019Written 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 […]

Are Rural Data Center Jobs “Good” Jobs?

Published on September 3rd, 2019Written 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 […]

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

Published on August 21st, 2019Written 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 […]