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Co-productions of technology, culture and policy in North America's community wireless networking movement

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Co-productions of technology, culture and policy in North America's community wireless networking movement

Powell, Alison (2008) Co-productions of technology, culture and policy in North America's community wireless networking movement. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

This thesis investigates the visions and realities of community WiFi's social and political impact, examining how communication technology and social forms are co-produced and providing a communication studies perspective on the transformation of social visions of technology into technological, social, and policy realities. By following the development of local WiFi projects and the emergence of broader policy-oriented mobilizations, it assesses the real outcomes of socially and politically progressive visions about information and communication technologies (ICTs). The visions of advocates and developers suggest that community WiFi projects can inspire greater local democratic engagement, while the realities suggest a more subtle bridging of influence from community WiFi actors into policy development spheres. The thesis describes local WiFi networks in Montreal and Fredericton, NB, and the North American Community Wireless Networking (CWN) movement as it has unfolded between 2004 and 2007, arguing that its democratic visions of technology and their institutional realities have been integral to the politicization of computing technology over the last four decades. Throughout the thesis, WiFi radio technology, a means of networking computers and connecting them to the internet by using unlicensed radio spectrum, acts as an example of how a technology's material form is co-produced along with its symbolic social and political significance.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Communication Studies
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Powell, Alison
Pagination:xii, 378 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Program:Communication Studies
Date:2008
Thesis Supervisor(s):Shade, L
ID Code:975220
Deposited By: Concordia University Library
Deposited On:22 Jan 2013 15:44
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:39
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