Network Sovereignty Blog

24 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 or Ramesh Srinivasan at

European Digital Sovereignty: EU’s Projection of Normative Power?

Published on September 9th, 2020Written by Abid Adonis Figure 1. European Union flag. (Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons) In the last four years, “digital sovereignty” has turned into a new prominent talking point between the European Union (EU) policy makers. The EU has been unprecedentedly vocal about the importance of international […]

The Diverse Meanings of Digital Sovereignty

Published on August 5th, 2020Written by Stéphane Couture The notion of sovereignty as it is applied to the digital has been increasingly used in recent years. The notion of “data sovereignty” in particular was almost nonexistent before 2011 while it is now part of academic and public discourse. The dominant […]

Notes on Creating the Zine, Cable TV Infrastructures: A Glossary of Illegal Access

Published on July 2nd, 2020Written by Daniel Carter Download the zine Cable TV Infrastructures: A Glossary of Illegal Access here. Figure 1. Sketch based on photo posted to Source: Cable TV infrastructures: A glossary of illegal access I started thinking about creating the attached zine, Cable TV Infrastructures: A […]

Mobile Politics: Infrastructural Chokepoints and Geopolitical Flashpoints

Published on July 1st, 2020Written by Lianrui Jia  The coronavirus has toppled any kind of normalcy that we are used to. It also laid bare the failures of our digital technologies. Tech companies are scrambling to make statements on changes in the operating system that enables contact tracing technologies, while […]

Networked Sovereignties: Imagining Alternative Futures in Barcelona

Published on July 1st, 2020Written by Casey Lynch I arrived in Barcelona in 2016 with the intention of studying the city’s world-famous “smart city” program. Since at least 2011, the municipal government had worked to establish a global reputation for itself as a premier smart city, forming partnerships with Cisco, […]

National Belonging and Exclusion in Estonia’s Networked Sovereignty

Published on June 23rd, 2020Written by Stanislav Budnitsky  On a cloudy afternoon in June 2017, I landed in Estonia’s capital Tallinn to attend the tenth annual European Dialogue on Internet Governance. As I made my way through the airport, I passed large advertisements depicting Estonia as “Positively Surprising” and identifying […]

Platforms, Community Archives and Remembering the Pandemic

Published on June 9th, 2020Written by Amelia Acker For the past two years, I’ve been researching platforms’ digital preservation strategies and studying how platforms like Facebook, iOS, and Android preserve information and provide access to users’ data. As part of this ongoing research, I have been following emerging ways that […]