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Untangling the unwired : Wi-Fi and the cultural inversion of infrastructure.

Mackenzie, A. (2005) Untangling the unwired : Wi-Fi and the cultural inversion of infrastructure. Space and Culture : International Journal of Social Spaces, 8 (3). pp. 269-285. ISSN 1552-8308

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Abstract

Cultural and social studies of technology have regarded infrastructure as less significant than the interfaces, devices, materials, and practices where processes of consumption, representation, attachment, embodiment, identification, and sociality are most visible. Infrastructural elements of new technologies usually remain in the background of analysis. What would it mean to invert the figure-ground relation between technology and "infrastructure"? Via a case study of an increasingly popular, everyday contemporary wireless networking technology, Wi-Fi, the author suggests that infrastructures have begun to figure as sites of cultural contestation. Infrastructures work as highly potentialized fields, triggering a multiplicity of interpretations. Using textual and ethno-graphic materials, the author suggests that rather than being the immobile grounds of technological cultures, different imaginings and practices of connectivity run through the many Wi-Fi projects, enterprises, and visions of the past 2 years. In seeking to understand these different imaginings of connectivity, the author suggests that contemporary infrastructures embody cultural logics at odds with each other.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Space and Culture : International Journal of Social Spaces
Additional Information: RAE_import_type : Journal article RAE_uoa_type : Sociology
Uncontrolled Keywords: mobility • infrastructure • Internet • communications technology
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Departments: Faculty of Science and Technology > School of Computing & Communications
Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences > Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts
Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences > Sociology
ID Code: 3461
Deposited By: ep_importer
Deposited On: 14 Mar 2008 15:56
Refereed?: Yes
Published?: Published
Last Modified: 26 Jul 2012 17:38
Identification Number:
URI: http://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/3461

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