scispace - formally typeset

Journal ArticleDOI

Disorderly infrastructure and the role of government

01 Jan 2006-Government Information Quarterly (Elsevier Limited)-Vol. 23, Iss: 3, pp 503-506

TL;DR: The articles in this volume portray government investment in wireless as a creature of recent events, but this overstates the degree to which the current historical moment is special.

AbstractThe articles in this volume portray government investment in wireless as a creature of recent events. A case can be made for government, municipal, and community wireless today because digital convergence has combined with improvements in wireless technology, changes in federal spectrum regulation, slow private wireline broadband deployment, and the recent collapse of the capital markets. This is certainly accurate, but it overstates the degree to which the current historical moment is special. This comment steps back to ask: How do infrastructures usually come to exist? In addition, what role would we expect governments to play in infrastructure development? To choose one telling comparison, at the beginning of the 20th century, the exciting technology was the plain, old telephone system. Recalling the development of this infrastructure cements the importance of government efforts in wireless today. For the last hundred years, it has been a truism in telecommunications circles that a telephone network (or any wired infrastructure) is more expensive in rural areas than urban areas. In the United States, a provider might cross miles of dusty prairie with only the occasional farmer for a customer. If a telephone company did not particularly want to offer service to an isolated homestead a century ago, we cannot blame them. We do not blame them today, as rural telephone service is subsidized in many countries.

Topics: Government (52%), Telephone network (51%)

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Citations
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Journal ArticleDOI
Abstract: From the Publisher: The telephone looms large in our lives, as ever present in modern societies as cars and television. Claude Fischer presents the first social history of this vital but little-studied technology—how we encountered, tested, and ultimately embraced it with enthusiasm. Using telephone ads, oral histories, telephone industry correspondence, and statistical data, Fischer's work is a colorful exploration of how, when, and why Americans started communicating in this radically new manner. Studying three California communities, Fischer uncovers how the telephone became integrated into the private worlds and community activities of average Americans in the first decades of this century. Women were especially avid in their use, a phenomenon which the industry first vigorously discouraged and then later wholeheartedly promoted. Again and again Fischer finds that the telephone supported a wide-ranging network of social relations and played a crucial role in community life, especially for women, from organizing children's relationships and church activities to alleviating the loneliness and boredom of rural life. Deftly written and meticulously researched, America Calling adds an important new chapter to the social history of our nation and illuminates a fundamental aspect of cultural modernism that is integral to contemporary life. Author Biography: Claude S. Fischer is Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley, and the author of To Dwell among Fris: Personal Networks in Town and City (1982) and The Urban Experience (1984).

782 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
Laura Forlano1
TL;DR: It is argued that as their homes, offices, cities, and spaces get layered with digital information networks, it is vital that the authors develop new conceptual categories that integrate digital and physical spaces to reconfigure people, places, and information in physical spaces.
Abstract: This article argues that as our homes, offices, cities, and spaces get layered with digital information networks, it is vital that we develop new conceptual categories that integrate digital and physical spaces. With that objective in mind, it examines how WiFi networks interact with socioeconomic factors to reconfigure people, places, and information in physical spaces. Drawing on empirical research from ethnographic observations, a survey, and in-depth interviews, it shows how the availability of WiFi public hotspots has opened up new ways for freelancers to do their work, often using different locales for different phases of their work. Also, for freelancers in search of opportunities for co-working, WiFi hotspots are sites of informal interaction, social support, collaboration, and innovation. The article also illustrates how a WiFi network does not map onto existing physical or architectural boundaries. Instead, it reconfigures them in a number of ways by permeating walls, bleeding into public spaces...

54 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
Abstract: This paper discusses the results of the Designing Policy project, which engages current debates about urban technology through the creation of a visual toolkit and a series of workshops. The workshops were held in Chicago, New York, and Boston during 2012–2013 with funding from the Urban Communication Foundation. The purpose of the project was three-fold: (1) to open up the “black box” of urban technology in order to reveal the politics embedded in city infrastructures; (2) to move beyond discussions of urban problems and solutions, and towards a more conceptual future-oriented space; and (3) to explore the use of design methods such as visual prototypes and participatory design. This article introduces the concept of design friction as a way of understanding the ways in which conflicts, tensions and disagreements can move complex socio-technical discussions forward where they can be worked out through material engagement in hands-on prototyping.

44 citations


Cites background from "Disorderly infrastructure and the r..."

  • ...…for urban technology such as reduced cost, more widespread availability, and local ownership and control (Bar and Galperin, 2004, 2006; Sandvig, 2004, 2006; Sandvig et al., 2004; Meinrath, 2005; Bar and Park, 2006; Powell and Shade, 2006; Forlano, 2006, 2008; Forlano and Dailey, 2008;…...

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Book ChapterDOI
01 Jan 2009
TL;DR: This paper argues that the role of physical place has been significantly under-theorized in this first decade of the Internet’s adoption and that the authors are at a turning point.
Abstract: For over ten years—since the mainstream adoption of the Internet with the introduction of the World Wide Web in 1995—researchers, businesspeople and policymakers have conducted studies, launched applications, products and services, and implemented new laws related to the virtual, online, digital and networked properties of the information society. However, in this first decade of the Internet’s adoption, the role of physical place has been significantly under-theorized. We are at a turning point. A digital information layer is rapidly expanding throughout the physical spaces of our homes, offices, cities and towns. This digital layer includes mobile and wireless technologies such as WiFi hotspots, municipal wireless networks, cellular networks, Bluetooth headsets, wireless sensors and radio frequency identification (RFID) tags. WiFi hotspots can easily be found in cofABsTRAcT

19 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
Abstract: Communications policies, like many other social policies, are founded on an ideal of democracy that connects the development of communication infrastructures with democratic public spheres. This framing is a constructivist endeavour that takes place through language, institution, and infrastructure. Projects that aim to develop these capacities must grapple with the way such new media technologies are integrated into existing contexts or spaces, often using metaphors. This article analyzes how such metaphors are employed in the case of local wireless networking. Referring to empirical research on networks located in Montreal and Fredericton, Canada, the article critiques the narrow approach to democratization of communication spaces inherent in networks of this type. This narrow focus is associated with metaphors used to describe a co-evolution of wireless technology and urban space. The article identifies that the design processes that shape these networks could benefit from a more radical democratization associated with metaphors of recombination of space and technology. RESUME Comme bien d’autres politiques sociales, les politiques en communication se fondent sur l’ideal de developper des infrastructures communicationnelles conjointement avec les spheres publiques democratiques. Cette perspective est a la base d’un projet constructiviste qui s’opere par le langage, les institutions et l’infrastructure. Ceux et celles qui cherchent a developper de tels projets devraient cependant tenir compte de la maniere dont on utilise certaines metaphores pour justifier l’integration de nouvelles technologies mediatiques dans des contextes ou des espaces existants. Cet article analyse comment de telles metaphores sont utilisees dans le cas de reseaux locaux sans fil. Se rapportant a une recherche empirique sur des reseaux situes a Montreal et a Fredericton, il critique la modestie de la democratisation d’espaces communicationnels qui caracterise ces reseaux. Cette modestie se justifie par une metaphore qui met l’accent sur une coevolution de technologies sans fil et d’espaces urbains. L’article fait remarquer que les processus a l’oeuvre pour creer ces reseaux pourraient beneficier d’une democratisation plus radicale s’ils avaient recours a une metaphore mettant de l’avant une recombinaison de l’espace et de la technologie.

19 citations


Cites background from "Disorderly infrastructure and the r..."

  • ...lenges, but ultimately reinforces, existing combinations of technology with city space (Sandvig, 2005; Sawhney, 2001). In particular, Sawhney (2001) argues that Wi-Fi networks initially formed islands of connectivity, but that wireless provision of Internet access will slowly replace the existing telephone and wired Internet infrastructure, taking much the same form. Sandvig (2005) observes that unique, locally based socioeconomic organizations such as telephone co-ops served mainly to subsidize the creation of a broader telephone infrastructure....

    [...]

  • ...lenges, but ultimately reinforces, existing combinations of technology with city space (Sandvig, 2005; Sawhney, 2001). In particular, Sawhney (2001) argues that Wi-Fi networks initially formed islands of connectivity, but that wireless provision of Internet access will slowly replace the existing telephone and wired Internet infrastructure, taking much the same form....

    [...]


References
More filters

Journal ArticleDOI
Abstract: Awarded the Dexter Prize by the Society for the History of Technology, this book offers a comparative history of the evolution of modern electric power systems. It described large-scale technological change and demonstrates that technology cannot be understood unless placed in a cultural context.

1,556 citations



Journal ArticleDOI
Abstract: From the Publisher: The telephone looms large in our lives, as ever present in modern societies as cars and television. Claude Fischer presents the first social history of this vital but little-studied technology—how we encountered, tested, and ultimately embraced it with enthusiasm. Using telephone ads, oral histories, telephone industry correspondence, and statistical data, Fischer's work is a colorful exploration of how, when, and why Americans started communicating in this radically new manner. Studying three California communities, Fischer uncovers how the telephone became integrated into the private worlds and community activities of average Americans in the first decades of this century. Women were especially avid in their use, a phenomenon which the industry first vigorously discouraged and then later wholeheartedly promoted. Again and again Fischer finds that the telephone supported a wide-ranging network of social relations and played a crucial role in community life, especially for women, from organizing children's relationships and church activities to alleviating the loneliness and boredom of rural life. Deftly written and meticulously researched, America Calling adds an important new chapter to the social history of our nation and illuminates a fundamental aspect of cultural modernism that is integral to contemporary life. Author Biography: Claude S. Fischer is Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley, and the author of To Dwell among Fris: Personal Networks in Town and City (1982) and The Urban Experience (1984).

782 citations


Book
11 Feb 1988
Abstract: This book describes how two newly invented communications technologies - the telephone and the electric light - were publicly envisioned, in specialized engineering trade journals as well as in more popular media, at the end of the nineteenth century. Much of the focus is on the telephone, particularly how it disrupted established social relations (people did not know how to to respond to its use or impact) and how society tried to bring it under a carefully prescribed pattern of proper usage. While the emphasis is on the way professionals in the electronics field tried to control the new media, their broader social impact is also discussed.

727 citations


"Disorderly infrastructure and the r..." refers background in this paper

  • ...C. Marvin (1988) observes that “arguments were made that the utility of the telephone could not be preserved without restricting its availability” (p. 101)....

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  • ...Marvin (1988) observes that “arguments were made that the utility of the telephone could not be...

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Book
01 Jan 1992
Abstract: From the Publisher: The telephone looms large in our lives, as ever present in modern societies as cars and television. Claude Fischer presents the first social history of this vital but little-studied technology—how we encountered, tested, and ultimately embraced it with enthusiasm. Using telephone ads, oral histories, telephone industry correspondence, and statistical data, Fischer's work is a colorful exploration of how, when, and why Americans started communicating in this radically new manner. Studying three California communities, Fischer uncovers how the telephone became integrated into the private worlds and community activities of average Americans in the first decades of this century. Women were especially avid in their use, a phenomenon which the industry first vigorously discouraged and then later wholeheartedly promoted. Again and again Fischer finds that the telephone supported a wide-ranging network of social relations and played a crucial role in community life, especially for women, from organizing children's relationships and church activities to alleviating the loneliness and boredom of rural life. Deftly written and meticulously researched, America Calling adds an important new chapter to the social history of our nation and illuminates a fundamental aspect of cultural modernism that is integral to contemporary life. Author Biography: Claude S. Fischer is Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley, and the author of To Dwell among Fris: Personal Networks in Town and City (1982) and The Urban Experience (1984).

683 citations